Test results of the soil in East Palestine show the train derailment and vinyl chloride release is an unmitigated disaster!
An analysis of the newly-released data shows the soil contains dioxin levels “hundreds of times greater than the exposure threshold,” to pose cancer risks, according to The Guardian.
The outlet reports that chemical experts and former EPA officials called the data “concerning.”
Linda Birnbaum, a former head of the US National Toxicology Program and EPA scientist, said the dioxin levels found in samples are up to 14 times higher than some states permit.
“The levels are not screaming high, but we have confirmed that dioxins are in East Palestine’s soil,” Birnbaum said.
“The EPA must test the soil in the area more broadly.”
In short, East Palestine’s soil is NOT Safe.
Yet, residents were told they could return to their homes after the train derailment and vinyl chloride release.
EAST PALESTINE — Newly released data shows soil in the Ohio town of East Palestine contains dioxin levels HUNDREDS OF TIMES GREATER than the exposure threshold above which EPA scientists in 2010 found poses cancer risks. pic.twitter.com/jG2IfxFnhu
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 17, 2023
The chemicals found in the soil in East Palestine are HIGHLY persistent and can stay in the environment as well as human bodies for YEARS.
Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, nervous system disorders, and other serious health problems have been linked to these compounds.
— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) March 17, 2023
BREAKING: New data shows that the soil of East Palestine contains dioxin levels hundreds of times greater than the exposure threshold that constitutes a serious cancer risk.https://t.co/8dwyCWYvOv
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) March 17, 2023
Cont. from The Guardian:
The data probably confirms fears that the controlled burn of vinyl chloride in the days after the train wreck in the town created dioxin and dispersed it throughout the area, experts say, though they stressed the new data is of limited value because only two soil samples were checked.
The train crash in East Palestine and its toxic aftermath has become a major issue in the US with local and activists decrying a lack of action by both the government and the train operator, Norfolk Southern. The state of Ohio has now sued the rail giant over the derailment, calling it one of a “long string” of incidents involving the company.
Dioxins are a class of chemicals that are a byproduct produced when chlorine is burned, which is a common industrial process in making products like PVC.
The chemicals are highly persistent and can accumulate and stay for years in the environment or human bodies. Among other health issues, the compounds are linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, nervous system disorders and other serious health problems. Soil and food contamination are considered to be among the most common exposure routes.
After resisting calls for weeks to test for dioxins, the EPA on 3 March announced it would order Norfolk Southern to do so. Separately, Indiana last week commissioned testing of East Palestine soil because one of the state’s landfills is storing it. The testing was conducted by what Birnbaum characterized as a reputable laboratory.
The Indiana governor, Eric Holcomb, said the levels found in the soil “were not harmful”. Meanwhile, an EPA regional administrator, Debra Shore, during congressional testimony on 9 March characterized the dioxin levels found in Indiana as “very low” and “good news”.
But while the EPA can claim that the levels are “low” from a legal standpoint, the agency’s own science suggests they are not safe, and dioxin experts who spoke with the Guardian cast doubt on Shore’s and Holcomb’s assessments.
The Guardian shared the laboratory analysis from Pace Analytical.
"I certainly wouldn't be comfortable living there," said one organic chemist. https://t.co/0lzyH6wWlP
— Common Dreams (@commondreams) March 17, 2023
Common Dreams added:
Carsten Prasse, an organic chemist at Johns Hopkins University, added that the dioxin concentrations in the soil samples examined are “actually concerning.”
“My main concern is: is this reflective of the level in the area in East Palestine… and of the levels individuals who live near the rail are exposed to?” Prasse asked. “I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable living there.”
Despite outside experts’ fears, EPA regional administrator Debra Shore insisted that the dioxin levels detected in the Indiana report are “very low.”
The Guardian‘s reporting came days after Ohio’s Republican attorney general filed suit against Norfolk Southern, accusing the rail giant of “recklessly endangering” East Palestine residents.
“Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence,” said AG Dave Yost said. “The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come, and there’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects on our air, water, and soil.”
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