Discovering the Ohio Chernobyl: Uncovering East Palestine's Unbelievable Story - #157

East Palestine is a village in northeastern Columbiana County, Ohio, with a population of 4,761 as of 2020. This week, a train derailment released toxic chemicals into the air, causing animals to become sick and dying. The Environmental Protection Agency conducted air-monitoring tests that did not show any toxic threats, and residents were told it was safe to return to their homes after a three-day mandatory evacuation. In 2021, the village was the setting for the movie “White Noise”, with locals signing up to be extras.

A previous spillage of vinyl chloride after a train derailment occurred in Paulsboro, New Jersey, in 2012. That state’s Department of Health compiled a fact sheet on the potential effects of exposure to humans that year which said stated: “It is not known whether short-term exposure to vinyl chloride can cause long-term health effects.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also has a more recent information sheet on vinyl chloride which said: “Human and animal studies show higher rates of liver, lung and several other types of cancer.

“Being exposed to vinyl chloride can affect a person’s liver, kidney, lung, spleen, nervous system and blood. People exposed to [extremely high] levels … may have an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Damage to male sperm-producing organs has occurred in laboratory animals.”

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Discovering the Ohio Chernobyl: Uncovering East Palestine's Unbelievable Story - #157
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