East Palestine Ohio Train Derailment
Thousands of people may have been exposed to known carcinogens and toxic chemicals in the February 3, 2023 Ohio Train Derailment. The train was operated by Norfolk Southern Railway and was carrying 1.2 million pounds of Vinyl Chloride and thousands of pounds of additional chemicals including ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and other toxic chemicals.
Attempts by company officials along with local and state authorities to manage the hazardous materials after the crash, may have worsened the contamination.
People who have been affected by the Ohio Train Derailment and Vinyl Chloride contamination may be eligible for compensation. Norfolk Southern and other agencies may be facing numerous lawsuits for injuries, property loss and environmental damage caused by the toxic exposure disaster.
Hazardous Materials in Norfolk Southern Train Derailment
The Norfolk Southern Railway train which derailed in East Palestine, Ohio was a mixed-freight train of 150 cars. Mixed-freight trains indicate that though some of the train cars are tanks which may contain hazardous chemicals, other cars on the train are carrying non-hazardous cargo, materials, or goods.
Despite its status as “mixed-freight”, the train involved in the derailment was carrying more than 1.2 million pounds or 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals in numerous tanker cars. Hazardous materials included the toxic chemicals vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and potentially other chemicals.
Attempts to Manage Chemical Spill from Train Derailment
Following the derailment of the Norfolk Southern Railway train near East Palestine, management of the hazardous material disaster may have worsened environmental exposure. Authorities and officials ruptured and drained the train cars of the chemicals into a large trench.
The trench containing Vinyl Chloride and other chemicals was then ignited, resulting in an explosion and massive burn. Area residents and animals may have been exposed to high levels of carcinogenic and harmful chemicals and property may be left with severe contamination.
In addition, the toxic cloud may have spread to water supplies and may have been spread in the air, resulting in reports of unnatural occurrences miles away from the site. Reports of sick or dead fish and other animals, along with reports of human continue to emerge in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The damage to the environment also may not have been contained as hoped. Some concerns about contamination of the Ohio river have emerged and recently, toxic soil and wastewater has reportedly been transported to Michigan and Texas without notification of local officials.
Vinyl Chloride Toxicity
Vinyl Chloride is a toxic chemical used in the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a type of plastic that is commonly used in plastic pipes and other products made of medium and high-density plastics. Vinyl chloride is also present in refrigerants, aerosols and other products used in industrial and consumer goods.
Vinyl Chloride has been identified as a mutagen which may cause DNA damage and mutations in both humans and animals.
In addition, vinyl chloride may result in neurological damage and effects including:
- Numbness or tingling
- Visual disturbance
- Respiratory issues
- Bone changes
- Liver damage
Cancers associated with vinyl chloride exposure include:
- Blood cancers (lymphoma, leukemia)
- Liver cancers (hepatic angiosarcoma, hepatocellular carcinoma)
- Brain cancers
- Lung cancers
- Reproductive cancer
- Intestinal cancers
The Norfolk Southern Train derailment also included other chemicals used in plastics and industrial manufacturing including ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, and butyl acrylate. All of these chemicals may also have toxic effects on humans, animals, and the environment.
Lack of Railway Supervision and Oversight
Norfolk Southern Railway has been accused of mismanagement of toxic, hazardous materials in the Ohio Train Derailment, however others may also bear responsibility for the disaster.
The train involved in the derailment may have suffered from a broken axle which occurred miles before East Palestine and began overheating, ultimately resulting in disastrous derailment. Recent cuts in train workforce and safety may have contributed to safety failures due to an industry run by companies who put profits over safety.
The discharge of the chemicals involved in the derailment may also have been mismanaged which puts responsibility on company officials, but also on local, state and federal authorities who mismanaged the discharge and disposal.
In addition, community members continue to express frustration and anger over lack of response from governmental agencies charged with emergency aid and disaster relief in what may become known as the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Lawsuits
Residents in and around East Palestine may continue to be affected by the Ohio Train Derailment for months, years or much longer. They may suffer from health effects, property damage or financial loss and from loss of public resources due to environmental damage.
Norfolk Southern Railway and other agencies may be facing hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits over toxic chemical exposure and effects. People and loved ones of those who have been affected by the Ohio Train Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio may be eligible for compensation.