In the early months of February 2023, a train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, caused officials to administer a controlled release of toxic fumes in hopes of mitigating the chances of an explosion.
Since then, the residents of Ohio and neighboring states have been exposed to the effects of it, with a clinic near the area being set up Monday, February 20th, 2023, for people concerned about symptoms they fear are related to the incident, like burning eyes, sore throats, and vomiting, while questions still remain.
The toxic chemical vinyl chloride was released into the air during the crash, creating a bloom of black smoke that filled the area and forced people in the area to evacuate until further notice. The wildlife has been affected too, and according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, "around 3,500 fish have died across streams and tributaries impacted by the chemical spill in East Palestine."
West Virginia American Water surveyed the area for 48 hours to determine whether the water was safe to use. They announced today that it was, but they would continue to monitor the water along the Ohio River.
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan even visited East Palestine earlier this week to help assess dangers and will be returning on Tuesday to speak with residents and officials.
According to an EPA spokesperson, it is offering "indoor air screenings for any resident within the evacuation zone," but no matter how much precaution is taken, people are still worried about their health.
Some residents who live close to the site have felt symptoms for a while, like Desiree Walker and her children, but doctors don’t know what to test them for. Officials say the water is safe to drink; however, she still doesn’t let her children drink it.
Even though the tests come back clean, people in Ohio are demanding answers for why they are all getting sick, and hundreds attended the town hall meeting last week in search of some answers.
The potential long-term effects of a chemical most of us have no information about are striking fear over Ohio and even other parts of the country, casting doubt on our government.
They are worried the government will forget about them and millions will suffer, like in the Michigan water crisis. However, in the coming days, residents will hopefully get answers and remedies for the black smog looming over Ohio.
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