Six Months On From The East Palestine Derailment And Not Much Has Changed


We are a nation that quickly forgets its painful lessons, and that’s a shame. Letting East Palestine fade into memory will only lead to railroads risking more communities in pursuit of profit.

Six months ago, today, a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in my hometown of East Palestine, Ohio, setting off a cascade of disruption for my family and thousands more — and not just in our town. Norfolk Southern purposefully released and ignited 115,000 gallons of vinyl chloride, a lethal flammable gas used to make PVC plastic, and a variety of other chemicals. The smoke wafted for miles. We braved evacuation orders, health scares, a federal investigation and a cleanup that continues.

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These chemicals create dioxins and cause leukemia, lymphoma, liver cancer, brain cancer, and lung cancer. What’s worse, preliminary research suggests that infants and young children like mine may be significantly more susceptible to the ill effects.

Six months following the spill and emergency burn-off of toxic chemicals at a train derailment site outside of East Palestine not much has changed in the railroad industry, while the people who lived through the disaster fear they will never be the same.