Investigation and Clean-up of Norfolk Southern Derailment in Ohio Continues
On February 9, 2023, a freight train operated by Norfolk Southern Railway Company derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, spilling multiple hazardous materials and forcing the evacuation of the town. Of the 150 cars on the train, 20 were carrying hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene.
To control the risk of explosion, the company released and burned the contents of the five cars carrying vinyl chloride on February 6, resulting in a massive smoke plume visible over the town. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies have since been monitoring the air and water for any signs of contamination.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the derailment, and has identified a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheated failure as a possible cause. The Ohio Department of Transportation and the EPA have also sent letters to Norfolk Southern notifying them of their potential liability for the cleanup of the site.
The EPA has reported that it has not detected any levels of health concern from the incident, and that no vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride have been found in nearly 400 screened homes. However, some residents have reported experiencing headaches and nausea, and the carcinogenic vinyl chloride is known to break down into hydrochloric acid, a component of acid rain.
The clean-up efforts and investigation into the cause of the derailment are still ongoing, and it is important that the public is kept up to date on the situation. It is also important that the government takes the necessary steps to ensure that any hazardous materials that are released are properly contained, and that the public is kept safe from any potential contamination.
0. “One of the materials on the derailed Ohio train is linked to a rare and “exceptionally deadly” cancer. Here's what to …” CBS News, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-vinyl-chloride-what-other-chemicals-were-on-train-derailed-east-palestine-ohio/
1. “What we know about the Ohio train derailment” Axios, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/02/13/what-we-know-about-ohio-train-derailment
2. “‘This Is Absurd': Train Cars that Derailed in Ohio Were Labeled Non-Hazardous” GovExec.com, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.govexec.com/management/2023/02/absurd-train-cars-derailed-ohio-were-labeled-non-hazardous/382970
3. “Ohio train derailment: Norfolk Southern train broke down days before derailing in East Palestine” CBS News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ohio-train-derailment-east-palestine-norfolk-southern-excess-size/
4. “Concern over air quality rises after East Palestine train derailment” The Columbus Dispatch, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/local/2023/02/14/concern-over-air-quality-rises-after-east-palestine-train-derailment-is-air-safe-to-breathe/69902424007/
5. “Longer, riskier: Ohio derailment exposes concerns about train length” POLITICO, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/16/ohio-derailment-train-east-palestine-00083122