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2023 Ohio Train Derailment: Toxic Chemicals

Posted by FactReal on February 15, 2023

Toxic chemicals at the site where a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio, on February 3, 2023, at approximately 8:55 PM EST.


EPA: Toxic Chemicals – 2023 Ohio Train Derailment

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) letter (2/10/2023) (Archive): [Emphasis added]

Hazardous materials:

On February 3, 2023, at approximately 8:55 PM EST, a Norfolk Southern train comprised of roughly 150 rail cars derailed. Approximately 20 rail cars were listed as carrying hazardous materials. 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 EPA made these observations: [emphasis added]

a. Materials released during the incident were observed and detected in samples from Sulphur Run, Leslie Run, Bull Creek, North Fork Little Beaver Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and the Ohio River.
b. Materials related to the incident were observed entering storm drains.
c. Multiple rail cars and tankers were observed derailed, breached, and/or on fire, that included but not limited to the following materials:

i. Vinyl chloride
ii. Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether
iii. Ethylhexyl acrylate
iv. Isobutylene
v. Butyl acrylate.

d. Five rail car tankers of vinyl chloride were intentionally breached; the vinyl
chloride was diverted to an excavated trench and then burned off.
e. Areas of contaminated soil and free liquids were observed and potentially covered
and/or filled during reconstruction of the rail line including portions of the trench
/burn pit that was used for the open burn off of vinyl chloride.

EPA List: What the derailed train cars were carrying: via EPA Documents)
Document title: ‘TRAIN 32N – EAST PALESTINE – derail list Norfolk Southern document.pdf’ (2/12/2023)
Via Popular Mechanics:

According to the EPA, four main toxic chemicals from the Ohio train wreck have already contaminated either air, soil, or water at the crash site. They include:

• Vinyl chloride: A highly flammable colorless gas used when making plastic is a known carcinogenic.

• Butyl acrylate: A flammable clear liquid used in making paints can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

• Ethylhexyl acrylate: A colorless liquid used in making paints and plastics can produce hazardous vapors under heat.

• Ethylene glycol monobutyl: A highly flammable colorless liquid used in making solvent is deemed as acutely toxic.

The Controlled burn of vinyl chloride might have released hydrogen chloride and phosgene into the air:

On [February 6, 2023,] officials at the scene – concerned about the potential for a violent explosion – deliberately vented the vinyl chloride, resulting in a fiery column of smoke.

The controlled release prevented a catastrophe, but officials acknowledged that venting vinyl chloride into the air also came with a major risk: gases so dangerous they can kill entering city streets, homes and businesses.

[V]inyl chloride, which is a gas at room temperature, also transforms into other chemicals when it catches fire. Several of those combustion products of vinyl chloride are potential health dangers, he said.

Among the dangers are gases called phosgene and hydrogen chloride.

Phosgene …had the potential to be immediately dangerous if it was present. After all, … it had been used as a deadly chemical warfare agent in the trenches of World War I.

‘We basically nuked a town’: Animals dying in Ohio after train derailment and controlled release of toxic chemicals

Dr. Marty Makary about growing health concerns after OH train derailment


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