Emma Woonton
February 20, 2023
2 minutes
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A Norfolk Southern Corp. train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Ohio, releasing known carcinogens and a plume of black smoke into the air. The train was carrying a mix of items including malt liquor, frozen vegetables and five main hazardous chemicals, including vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate, which are used to make plastic products. The crash highlights the dangers of the world’s growing reliance on plastics. Environmental and public health advocates raised concerns after chemicals contaminated local waterways that feed into the Ohio River. A federal investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing, as is environmental monitoring inside and outside Ohio. The EPA is the primary source for air monitoring in the community; the agency is also working with Norfolk Southern to do indoor air screening inside people’s homes who have requested it. The Ohio EPA is the point agency for water sampling in and around the site. While officials have largely declared the drinking water in East Palestine and elsewhere safe, some communities are being advised to drink bottled water.

Hyperlinks: EPA, environmental monitoring, plastics

Bloomberg: Ohio Train Derailment Reveals Toxic Risks of Plastic Chemicals - Bloomberg

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