On Jan 17, Ohio, Governor DeWine said air had been sampled throughout homes as well as outside air throughout East Palestine, he said: “Although the testing found higher levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds) in 75 homes, the contaminates were not due to the train derailment.”
DeWine also talked about telling residents they could return home, “We continue to test the air. We continue to test the water. We’ve done that, really, since the beginning. Before we told them they could go back, we had readings that indicated the air was what it was before the train wreck even occurred.”
The Governor tried to reassure Ohioans that they come into contact with VOCs all the time, as they are in items like paint and cleaners. He told the residents they did not need to drink bottled water if they were on municipal water but could take precautions if they were on well water, although it wasn’t necessary. He also noted that the plume in the Ohio River had also dissipated.
Juanita Broaddrick reflected the sentiment of many Americans upon watching the lackadaisical approach taken to remedy the ecological disaster in East Palestine. She tweeted, “Waiting for DeWine to drink a glass of tap water live on tv.”

 

However, despite assurances from many government officials who have tried to sweep the derailment under the rug, State Senator Michael Rulli spoke out and warned residents to stay away from the water, warning they should not bathe in it or drink it, saying it is “not safe: to do so.” Rulli noted that there are significant concerns that the toxins could cause cancer 5-10 years down the road. He advised residents to leave the area, “what I’m suggesting is that everyone goes as far away as you can and get a hotel room.” Rulli also said that when he visits the area, he has a sore throat for the rest of the day.

Republican Senator J.D. Vance and Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown wrote a joint letter to the Ohio EPA (OEPA) and the federal EPA expressing their concern for the people of East Palestine and neighboring communities over the potential spread of “highly toxic,” cancer-causing pollutants,

“We are concerned that the burning of large volumes of vinyl chloride may have resulted in the formation of dioxins that may have been dispersed throughout the East Palestine community and potentially a much large[r] area.”

The Senators requested “the agencies provide their plans to monitor East Palestine and surrounding areas for dioxins.”

 

According to the Epoch Times, 90 percent of human exposure to dioxins is through the food chain. The chemicals can also contaminate drinking water through air emissions from combustion, like through the incineration of waste and subsequent deposition into lakes and reservoirs.

East Palestine residents have complained about rashes, headaches, and vomiting following the chemical spill.

J.D. Vance said the EPA should be willing to drink the water to prove that it is safe, “If the EPA says this water is clean, they should come here and take a drink.”

 

Train operator Norfolk Southern announced that they had removed 15,000 pounds of contaminated soil and 1.1 million gallons of contaminated water, which would be transported to landfills and disposal facilities that are “designed to accept it safely in accordance with state and federal regulations.” The operator tried to reassure residents that measures were being taken to clean the site,

“Additionally, a series of pumps have been placed upstream to reroute Sulphur Run around the derailment site. The affected portion of Sulphur Run has been dammed to protect water downstream. Environmental teams are treating the impacted portions of Sulphur Run with booms, aeration, and carbon filtration units and working with stream experts to collect soil and groundwater samples to develop a comprehensive plan to address any contamination that remains in the stream banks and sediment.”

Ohio Governor DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro plan to visit the site Tuesday.

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