A Norfolk Southern train derailed near East Palestine Ohio carrying toxic materials on February 3rd, 2023. By now most people have heard about this incident and it has been and is still being severely underreported by the media. America seems to be on some kind of doomsday roll as more incidents like the train derailment in Ohio keep occurring. A truck in Arizona carrying nitric acid, another toxic chemical crashed causing environmental and physical safety issues amongst the nearest residents on February 14th, 2023. A manufacturing facility containing nursery supplies (plastic plant holders) caught fire in Kissimmee on February 15th, 2023.
All these incidents are different in their own rights, and they all have the common denominator of hazardous chemical exposure. All occurring within days or weeks of each other. These incidents are causing fear, concern, worry, and even suspicion among the American people. Some are even speculating these incidents are a part of some type of conspiracy or at minimum that something dubious is going on. Either way, it is evident that something is going on whether it be mere negligence. We will break down everything that has been happening with hazardous material spills and you can decide on your own conclusions.
Although this incident is finally getting traction in the media, it has been severely underreported, and no one understands why. On February 3rd, 2023 almost two weeks ago a train carrying hazardous material derailed and crashed. The Ohio government and railroad officials were concerned that the derailed train would suffer an explosion due to leaking and compressed chemicals. The Ohio government alongside railroad officials decided to perform a “controlled leak”. While they might have avoided a massive explosion that could cause shrapnel to fly and the chemical to spread further, it did not avoid the release of toxic gas into the air, soil, and water over several days.
- What The Train Was Carrying
The National Public Radio (NPR) has stated that the train consisted of about 150 cars with 20 of them containing hazardous materials. Of the 20 11 were part of the derailment. Five of the train cars were allegedly carrying the chemical Vinyl Chloride with the other car carrying hazardous materials such as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene, and butyl acrylate. All of these chemicals have hazardous environmental and physical dangers.
- Vinyl Chloride
When researching for this blog, the first thing I googled is “what is vinyl Chloride”. The very first google search to populate is from the national cancer institute. The national cancer institute reports that Vinyl Chloride “is a colorless gas that burns easily. It does not occur naturally and must be produced industrially for its commercial uses. Vinyl chloride is used primarily to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a hard plastic resin used to make a variety of plastic products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials. Vinyl chloride is also produced as a combustion product in tobacco smoke.” Vinyl Chloride is a hazardous material used to make plastic. Vinyl Chloride although not a carcinogen in the PVC form is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing) in its base form. Vinyl Chloride is known to cause cancers such as liver cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma.
This chemical is extremely dangerous and has been of grave concern even before the train derailment. Vinyl Chloride can be a common carcinogen found in everyday life. That new car smell is that of Vinyl Chloride that shouldn’t be enjoyed, rather it should be aired out. Old plastic Tupperware also consists of Vinyl Chloride. The list is robust when it comes to what items contain vinyl chloride that is toxic. There are websites and scientists dedicated to informing the public about the hazards of this chemical and how to avoid it.
Now it has been released in an abundance into the environment in Ohio. Many doctors are taking to social media urging people not to return to their homes due to the toxic threat. Thus far the Ohio government is not supporting these findings and it’s causing conflict amongst the residents as they don’t know who to trust, how to proceed, or how to gauge if their health is at risk.
The CDC has reported that “When confined under high pressure in special containers, vinyl chloride exists in a liquefied state. It is shipped and handled this way. When burned or heated to a high enough temperature, vinyl chloride decomposes to hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and traces of phosgene. ” This means that not only was Vinyl Chloride released into the environment, but due to the controlled release that burned the Vinyl Chloride, hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and traces of phosgene may have been released as well.
The CDC reports that “Phosgene (COCl₂) is a colorless gas with a suffocating odor like musty hay. Exposure to phosgene may cause irritation to the eyes, dry burning throat, vomiting, cough, foamy sputum, breathing difficulty, and chest pain; and when liquid: frostbite. Workers may be harmed from exposure to phosgene.” This chemical was so toxic it was used as a chemical weapon in World War One. Some are claiming that the controlled burn of the vinyl chloride could have caused more damage to the community and the environment because of the chemicals it then created. Several class action lawsuits are already underway because of the choice to initiate the controlled burn that could have released a chemical warfare agent, Phosgne into the environment.
- Environmental Concerns
This is considered an environmental disaster. Ohio is a large producer of organic agriculture. So the expensive trader joes berries and spinach your purchase from trader joes may be affected. This incident is so much bigger than a 10-mile radius around Ohio. This is not to diminish the impact it has on the accident site, and the possible bigger effects are being seriously overlooked which can cause health concerns.
- Ohio Resident Concerns
Local officials have been informing Ohio residents that either was required to evacuate or chose to evacuate on their own accord that it is now safe to return to the area. The Environmental Agency (EPA) has been allegedly onsite and reporting that the air, soil, and water are safe from the chemicals released from the train derailed as of February 16th, 2023. This has residents extremely concerned as videos are surfacing all over the internet of the rivers closest to the impact site (10 miles) are cloudy and all the fish are dead.
It is evident even to a layperson who is not a scientist that if the fish are all dying it is not safe in some way. Therefore it would not be safe for humans to return. Residents also reported issues such as their eyes burning when they went outside and even livestock such as chickens being found dead. We currently have no information on how these chemicals might affect humans and for how long they will be circulating in affected areas.
To make matters worse the residents impacted are not receiving the support they need to stay safe and maintain their lives. These residents are not receiving the financial support they need when their lives have been completely interrupted. The residents needed to relocate, some were not able to work, and they had to leave most of their belongings behind.
Americans are currently experiencing DeJavu, as yet another toxic material spill occurred Wednesday, February 14th near Tucson Arizona. The truck was carrying liquid nitric acid that proceeded to leak and fume on the major Arizona highway. National Public Radio reports that residents within a half mile of the crash were ordered to evacuate while those within three miles were ordered to shelter in place. The driver of the truck did not survive the crash.
- What is Nitric Acid
The CDC states that nitric acid is “a colorless liquid with yellow or red fumes with an acrid odor. Exposure to nitric acid can irritate the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes; it can also cause delayed pulmonary edema, pneumonitis, bronchitis, and dental erosion. Nitric acid is highly corrosive.”
A manufacturing facility containing nursery supplies (plastic plant holders) caught fire in Kissimmee during the night. Thus far we still are not made aware of how or why the fire started. There have been no reported injuries.
Spectrum news is reporting that when they pressed the manufacturing company they chose not respond to questions. One major question was what compounds are used in making their plastic flower pots. Spectrum news also reports that an OSHA complaint was filed against the company on January 27th. Both the manufacturing company nor OSHA has not responded informing Spectrum news what the complaint consisted of.
Residents are feeling concerned about the lack of information being provided on this fire and the possible effects it could have on the environment and the community. Especially coming after the train derailment in Ohio people want to ensure they are safe.
Americans are extremely distressed about all these recent hazardous chemical spills. Many are feeling unsupported by their government and are scared of the environmental and health implications these spills can have for the future. Hopefully, more information continues to be released on all three of these incidents so residents and all those affected can be assured they will be safe.