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All over the news recently has been the dangerous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which led to a large amount of a toxic chemical being released and burned to prevent the train from exploding. From the new health clinic to potential litigation, here are all the latest updates on the Ohio train derailment.
On February 3rd, a cargo train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in northeastern Ohio. Five of the train cars were filled with vinyl chloride, a chemical compound known to cause liver poisoning and cancer in people exposed to it. The train was traveling from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania, and over 50 cars came off the tracks.
Was anyone hurt?
Luckily, nobody was injured or killed when the train derailed and no one has yet been negatively affected by the release of the vinyl chloride. When the chemicals were spilled, roughly 3,500 fish were reported to have died in the surrounding area, and there have been some anecdotal accounts of animals growing sick or dying in the wake of the disaster.
Research labs are currently working to see if any of the non-aquatic animal deaths could be connected to the chemical spill. Experts are also testing to see if the spill affected East Palestine’s water supply, and trying to find out if the water is safe for human consumption still.
Is legal action being taken?
Norfolk Southern, the company that ran the train that derailed, could be facing quite a few lawsuits due to the accident. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said that the Attorney General’s office intends to sue the company, and they have sent a letter to Norfolk Southern’s CEO Alan Shaw detailing their intent to sue.
According to the letter, “The pollution, which continues to contaminate the area around East Palestine, created a nuisance, damage to natural resources and caused environmental harm. Local residents and Ohio’s waters have been damaged as a result.”
Civil litigation is also a potential option, and multiple class-action lawsuits are already taking place by residents of East Palestine who were forced to evacuate their homes in the wake of the derailment.
The new medical clinic
On Tuesday this week, the Ohio Department of Health and the Columbiana County Health Department worked together to set up a health clinic near East Palestine to address concerns about toxic waste in the area. The health clinic is being held at the First of Christ Church in East Palestine. It gives locals a chance to talk to health professionals about their concerns related to the chemical spill.
Have accidents like this happened before?
While they’re not often seen in the news, train derailments are actually a somewhat common occurrence. In fact, in every year since at least 1975, there have been 1,000 or more derailments, or about three or more derailments per day. Most train derailments are less dangerous than this one, however, and the toxic chemical spill is the reason this particular incident has received so much coverage.