Ohio Train Derailment, Toxic Chemicals, and Carcinogenic Gas

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February 3, 2023 | Wikipedia

…a freight train carrying hazardous chemicals, including vinyl chloride, derailed and exploded in the village of East Palestine, Ohio, United States.[1]

About 50 cars derailed around 8:55 pm local time on February 3, 2023 in East Palestine, a town of 4,800 residents near the Ohio–Pennsylvania border. Twenty of the 141 cars were classified as carrying hazardous materials, 14 of which were carrying vinyl chloride.[4] Other chemicals included combustible liquids, butyl acrylate and benzene residue.[5] About 48 hours later, the National Transportation Safety Board said it had preliminary findings that a mechanical problem on an axle of one of the cars led to the derailment.[6]

The trains were not equipped with electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, which a former Federal Railroad Administration official said would have reduced the severity of the accident.[7] In 2017, Norfolk Southern had successfully lobbied to have regulations requiring their use on trains carrying hazardous materials repealed.


February 6, 2023 | Reuters

Derailed train cars in Ohio drained of toxic chemical amid mass evacuation

Nearly 2,000 residents of eastern Ohio remained under evacuation orders on Monday as railroad crews drained and burned off a toxic chemical from five tanker cars of a freight train that derailed in a fiery wreck three days earlier, officials said.

The venting of pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable and carcinogenic gas, began with a single explosion, as was anticipated, followed by a steady incineration of the remaining cargo, said Sandy Mackey, a spokesperson for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

“That controlled release was the one explosion,” she told Reuters by telephone. “It went as planned. It seemed to be a successful incident.”



February 10, 2023 | NY Post

Animals falling sick, dying near hellish Ohio train derailment site

Inhaling vinyl chloride fumes can induce dizziness, nausea, headache, and breathing complications, University of Toledo environmental engineering professor Ashok Kumar told ABC News.

Professor Kevin Crist, the director of Ohio University’s Air Quality Center, noted that the chemical can also cause cancer of the liver and other organs.

“Breathe those in under heavy concentrations, and it’s really bad for you,” Crist told the network. “It’s like an acid mist. It’s not something that you want to be around in high concentrations.”

Officials conducted a controlled burn in the area to avoid a “catastrophic tanker failure” that could have set off a gigantic explosion.