Ohio train crash leaves small town fearful of toxic fumes and confused

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On February 3, a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on its way to Pennsylvania. Its cars were carrying, vinyl chloride, a colorless, hazardous gas that is a known carcinogen, and other toxic substances such as dioxin.

On 6 February, after evacuating the immediate area, officials conducted a controlled burn of the vinyl chloride. Federal, state, and railroad experts concluded it would be safer than allowing the material to explode. The controlled burn produced an expansive plume of smoke over East Palestine. Residents in the immediate area have complained of headaches and nausea more than a week after the chemicals were burned.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said that it had not detected any significant levels of hazardous substances in the air, but they did find traces of chemicals in water samples nearby, including the Ohio River. At a news conference on Tuesday, state officials recommended that people in the area use bottled water., especially if they use private wells. But by Wednesday, Ohio’s state Environmental Protection Agency assured residents that the municipal water supply was safe to drink. Residents are confused and unsatisfied with the responses from officials.

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