In Aftermath of Toxic Train Derailment, a Town Seeks Answers

Feb 17, 2023

Residents of an Ohio village where a train carrying toxic substances derailed voiced great concerns about their health during a town hall meeting with public officials. The train accident was nearly two weeks ago. 

People of East Palestine said they’ve found dead pets and wildlife since dangerous chemicals were released by the train wreck. Residents themselves have felt the effects. Their lawns, cars, and windows have been covered in a powdery substance, they said.

About 5,000 people live in the town. 

The derailment was on February 3. It caused cleanup crews to detonate train cars to release vinyl chloride. The chemical, at high levels, can be lethal. It might also cause cancer. State officials lifted an evacuation order for East Palestine. Some people, though, have not returned to their homes. They worry the air, ground, and surfaces are poisonous.

“I have three grandbabies,” said one woman who attended the town hall meeting. “Are they going to grow up here in five years and have cancer?”

The village mayor called on a more complete report from environmental officials. "The people want answers,” he said. “I want answers."

State officials told residents that tests have shown the air is safe to breathe. They said air testing would continue.

Representatives from the train company, Norfolk Southern, did not go to the town hall, The Associated Press reported. The company said it was scared that their staff would be unsafe if they went to the meeting. 

Photo from Reuters.

Which of the following do residents of East Palestine and state officials most likely agree on? (Common Core RI.5.9; RI.6.9)
a. That the air in the village is now safe to breathe.
b. That Norfolk Southern representatives should've attended the meeting.
c. That air testing should continue in the village.
d. That no pets or wildlife have been impacted by the toxic chemicals in the air.
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