Chemical Chaos By Charles Taylor (Florida)

Here is an update for Australians about possibly the worst toxic train disaster in US history, at East Palestine, Ohio, caused by the authorities burning toxic chemicals rather than using careful, but more expensive disposal methods. It has now been documented by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), that tens of thousands of fish and aquatic animals have died in waterways in the area, and that is just the beginning. Residents have reported pets dying. And already people are getting ill, coughing up blood, having massive headaches, and other ill effects. No-one has died yet, but things do not look good. The key point here is that the authorities have told residents that the waters are safe, but even while the fish and aquatic life dying would clearly vindicate otherwise. This story shows that the technocratic and political elites do not care if ordinary white people live or die, as there are always migrants, migrants, and more migrants, to replace therm.

“The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently estimated that more than 43,000 fish and other aquatic animals have died due to the chemicals spilled by the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz announced on Thursday, Feb. 23, that roughly 38,222 minnows and about 5,550 other aquatic animals such as small fish, crayfish, amphibians and macroinvertebrates were killed in the five-mile span of waterways from the derailment site.

The ODNR noted that on Feb. 15, the number of aquatic animals killed by the disaster was less than 3,000, primarily minnows and small fish, based on an initial investigation of four sites around the train derailment area.

The state agency said it went to the train derailment site the morning after the crash to determine the impact of the chemical spill on aquatic life, to survey nearby waterways for dead aquatic animals and to collect data and specimens to inform the total. The ODNR collaborated with private company EnviroScience to help collect data on the number of dead aquatic animals in the area and to help collect and remove these dead animals from the waters to prevent further harm to any other animals in the area.

Deaths mostly occurred immediately after toxic spill, long-term effects still unknown

The ODNR and EnviroScience estimate that, over the 7.5 miles of land immediately affected by the chemical spill from the Norfolk Southern train derailment, aquatic species living in waterways located within five miles of the site were killed immediately.

“Although dead aquatic species still remain in the impacted waterways, the entirety of the impact to the aquatic life is believed to have occurred in the first 24-hours after the derailment,” noted Mertz. “These small fish are all believed to have been killed immediately after the derailment.”

Mertz added that ODNR officers searched for additional dead aquatic wildlife “beyond the impacted waterways” in the days after the crash. These searches brought officers to the Ohio River down through Jefferson County and at the New Cumberland Locks and Dam, a dam around 20 miles south of East Palestine. These searches did not find any dead aquatic animals.

The director added that the agency is also waiting for test results on non-aquatic animals found near the train derailment, including birds and opossums. The ODNR does not believe these non-aquatic animals were immediately made sick by the derailment.

An ODNR representative noted that there is “no immediate threat” to the aquatic life in Leslie Run creek, and that live fish have already returned there.

“We’re happy to see live fish have already returned to Leslie Run, that’s a great sign. The fact that we’re not seeing any fish in distress is a great sign,” said the representative.

The ODNR added that it still does not understand the long-term effects of the train derailment, and the representative said the department is still unable to put a timeline on how long it will take for the environment around the crash to fully recover.”

“Government health officials on the state and federal level are continuing to lie to the American public about the severity of the massive spill and burnoff of highly toxic chemicals following a major train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month.

The lack of answers regarding health effects and accountability continues to frustrate hundreds of people who were evacuated. This frustration is due to the uncertainties surrounding the evaluation of health risks by government leaders and scientists and the short- and long-term health effects associated with exposure to vinyl chloride or other chemicals.

While scientists can estimate risks and provide opinions, the health outcomes of those exposed to vinyl chloride in the aftermath of the accident remain unknown. The affected individuals want to know what will happen to their health or the health of their children as a result of the incident, notes a report from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.

The report notes further:

Here’s what we do know. We know that vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen and that it damages the liver and central nervous system; over 1,500 people living within a 1-mile by 2-mile area of the accident were evacuated; that Norfolk Southern opted to release and burn the vinyl chloride from all five derailed tankers releasing deadly fumes into the air to prevent a potentially disastrous explosion (see photo); that the state acted swiftly in evacuating the homes immediately surrounding the site of the accident; that 38 of the 150 cars being pulled by the train derailed; about 20 rail cars were carrying hazardous materials including five with vinyl chloride; other chemicals included butyl acrylate, ethyl hexyl acrylate and ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether.

We also know that several days after the accident, most people are back in their homes with assurances from the local authorities that everything is fine. 

Indeed, they are not.

According to researchers from Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University, despite officials’ assurances that the air and water in the town is safe, residents affected by the train derailment and subsequent chemical fallout in East Palestine, Ohio, could face a range of long-term health complications due to prolonged exposure to toxic substances, according to the Daily Wire.

One of the chemicals released in the accident was vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen used in the production of PVC. The massive plumes of black smoke from the five train cars were visible throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

Researchers said of the roughly 50 chemicals present on the derailed train, nine of them have higher concentrations than usual in East Palestine. The researchers are particularly worried about above-normal levels of acrolein, a substance with a strong odor that is considered “highly toxic” when inhaled, according to a CDC report. Other chemicals charted at abnormally high levels included benzene, naphthalene, and vinyl chloride. “If these levels continue, they may be of health concern,” said the researchers.

The Daily Wire noted further:

The findings come after the EPA said that “test results from the village’s municipal well sampling showed no water quality concerns,” while Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced that tests conducted by the Ohio EPA revealed “no detection of contaminants in raw water from the five wells that feed into East Palestine’s municipal water system.” Governor Josh Shapiro (D-PA) likewise remarked in a recent interview that tests of municipal water supplies and wells have not shown any “concerning readings” of hazardous chemicals.

The EPA was informed by Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for the train derailment, that in addition to vinyl chloride, several other volatile chemicals, including ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate were present at the accident site. However, the EPA released the full list of substances only after residents were told that it was safe to return to their homes, leading to criticism of the handling of the situation.

Once again, Americans cannot get a straight answer from those we elected and entrust to do the right thing by us.”

“Ohio man Wade Lovett’s been having trouble breathing since the February 3 Norfolk South train derailment and toxic explosion. In fact, his voice sounds as if he’s been inhaling helium.

“Doctors say I definitely have the chemicals in me but there’s no one in town who can run the toxicological tests to find out which ones they are,” Lovett, 40, an auto detailer, told the New York Post in an extremely high-pitched voice.

“My voice sounds like Mickey Mouse. My normal voice is low. It’s hard to breathe, especially at night. My chest hurts so much at night I feel like I’m drowning. I cough up phlegm a lot. I lost my job because the doctor won’t release me to go to work.”

Despite his health woes, Mr Lovett and his fiancee, Tawnya Irwin, 45, spent last Thursday delivering bottled water to locals who have been impacted since a train derailed in their town of East Palestine, Ohio. The incident caused toxic chemicals to be released into the air and the immediate sickness and deaths of animals nearby.

The couple picked up new cases outside a home on East Clark Street which has become the heart of East Palestine’s homegrown campaign to fight back against the forces that up-ended the lives of roughly 4700 residents and their animals.

Locals are frustrated and furious over what they say has been a lack of real information and help from both local officials and the Biden Administration. Last week, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway ripped Mr Biden for heading to Ukraine for a surprise visit instead of the scene of the toxic train derailment, calling it “the biggest slap in the face”.

Leading the charge to fight for the community is 46-year-old Jami Cozza, a lifelong East Palestinian who counts 47 close relatives here. Many of them are facing health issues from the chemical fire as well as the psychic toll of their town becoming, in the words of a scientist visiting the area on Thursday, the new “Love Canal” — a reference to the Niagara Falls, New York, neighbourhood that became a hotbed issue in 1978 because people were getting sick from living above a contaminated waste dump.

Although famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich held a town hall on Friday night, many locals say the fierce and forceful Ms Cozza beat her to the punch.

“I’ve known Jami my whole life and she is very sharp,” Jason Trosky, 47, a lifelong East Palestine resident, told The Post. “We’re lucky to have her. Brockovich came with her lawyer in tow. Will she help? Maybe, but she’s also trying to stay relevant. Jami will be here for us after the circus leaves town.”

Ms Cozza, 46, who’s lived in this small Ohio Valley village near the Pennsylvania border for most of her life, has her work cut out for her.

Her eyes fill with tears when she talks about how her 91-year-old widowed grandmother tried to clean the chemicals off the furniture in the house she’s lived in for 56 years — before giving up and moving to a hotel room where she can’t sleep at night.

Evacuation orders were lifted on February 8, but many locals say they got unexplained rashes and sore throats when they returned home. The creeks that dot the town still ripple with the telltale rainbow colour of contamination if you throw a rock in them.

An independent analysis by Texas A & M University of Environmental Protection Agency data, released on Friday, found nine air pollutants at levels that could raise long-term health concerns in and around East Palestine, apparently contradicting statements by state and federal regulators that the air there is safe.

“My fiance was so sick that I almost took him to the hospital,” Ms Cozza told The Post while sitting on the porch of her aunt’s home on East Clark Street a few hours before she led her own town hall meeting on Thursday.

“Not only am I fighting for my family’s life, but I feel like I’m fighting for the whole town’s life. When I’m walking around hearing these stories, they’re not from people. They’re from my family. They’re from my friends that I’ve have grown up with,” she said. “People are desperate right now. We’re dying slowly. They’re poisoning us slowly.”

Though President Donald Trump, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, former US Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and Brockovich visited East Palestine in the past week, Ms Cozza and other residents said they know the media spotlight will fade. She’s determined to keep the pressure on once her town becomes old news.

A big part of Jami and the town’s battle involves questions over whether Norfolk Southern’s decision to effectively nuke the town with deadly chemicals in what they called a “controlled explosion” was the correct one — or if they were just cheaper than cleaning up the mess on the ground.”




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Friday, 19 July 2024

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