The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday provided an update on the chemical fallout from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment and ecological disaster.
“There is a plume [of chemicals] moving down the Ohio River,” said Tiffani Kavalec, the head of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s water management subdivision. “It’s near Huntington, West Virginia, right now.”
Kavalec said that the plume is composed mainly of “fire combustion chemicals.” There may also be multiple “volatile organic compounds” carried on the train in the Ohio River but are “very diluted,” she added.
Ohio EPA chief:
“There is a plume [of chemicals] moving down the Ohio River… It's near Huntington, West Virginia, right now." pic.twitter.com/0Hl5K6jDwp
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 15, 2023
Local news station WLWT reported on Monday that small amounts of the chemicals had been identified in the Ohio River, which winds through or borders Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It supplies more than 5 million people with drinking water. States hundreds of miles away are evaluating its drinking water for the presence of toxic chemicals.
However, the latest reports on Wednesday contradict the earlier assessments.
“No contaminants were found in the Ohio River after Greater Cincinnati Water Works tested it for multiple hazardous chemicals,” WXIX reported.
“According to the Water Quality of Richard Miller Treatment Plant Intake data, all four chemicals were not detected in the Ohio River, including butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride,” the report added.
The Norfolk Southern train derailed on February 3rd. Fifty rail cars containing various toxic chemicals were overturned. New drone footage obtained by Rebel News shows an overview of the train wreck.
East Palestine, Ohio is a complete mess. You'll not see drone footage like this in the MSM. (Follow https://t.co/G198phOp2s for more) pic.twitter.com/kIZjh28XwI
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 15, 2023
Emergency response teams performed a “controlled burn” of a particularly noxious chemical known as vinyl chloride, which is a carcinogen with a relatively low boiling point.
The EPA was involved in the decision to ignite toxic chemicals in Ohio but they refuse to discuss the risks. pic.twitter.com/xJVeihAzSO
— @amuse (@amuse) February 14, 2023
The EPA in a letter identified a number of toxic chemicals released into the air and water due to the Norfolk Southern train derailment.
“Cars containing vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether are known to have been and continue to be released to the air, surface soils, and surface waters,” the letter said.
In addition to water quality concerns, there is also the issue of air quality hazards. Vinyl chloride, according to the New Jersey EPA, “is a CARCINOGEN in humans. There may be no safe level of exposure to a carcinogen, so all contact should be reduced to the lowest possible level.”
After the train derailment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been testing the air quality, including for traces of vinyl chloride. OSHA has set “the legal airborne permissible exposure limit” to 1 ppm during an eight-hour work period or no more than five ppm “during any 15-minute work period.”
The EPA has not reported levels above its threshold of 0.5 ppm in the area. On 13 February, one sensor picked up an average concentration of 0.2 ppm, with an additional two recording a lower concentration of0.05 ppm during the testing window. Air quality reports taken on February 10 and 11 found an average concentration of 0.3 ppm in some areas.
In its latest dispatch, the EPA states that “as of February 14, EPA has assisted with the screening of 396 homes under a voluntary screening program offered to residents, and no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified. 65 additional homes are scheduled for today. We are continuing to conduct 24/7 air-monitoring to ensure the health and safety of residents.”
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.