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Bhopal in Palestine, Ohio - Train Derailment Produces an Environmental and Health Disaster

East Palastine train wreckA modern Bhopal in Palestine, Ohio -

Train Derailment Produces an Environmental and Health Disaster

Meanwhile, the federal government and mainstream media continue to be almost silent about it.

By now most people have heard that there was a massive chemical spill when a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, which is located in eastern Ohio, on the border with Pennsylvania, , northwest of Pittsburg. A couple of weeks after the spill, the federal government hasn't said much at all about it, apparently downplaying the risk to both human health and the environment.

Residents are reporting huge fish kills and other animal fatalities, particularly birds. One woman discovered her entire flock of backyard chickens had died overnight. Another reported his pet fox were ill and one died.

Summary: what we know about the spill

On Friday, February 3, 2023, approximately 50 train cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Palestine, Ohio. The chemicals apparently burst into flame. Ten of the cars were filled with butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride. In addition to being toxic, there were also combustible liquids. Responders were concerned that there could be a large explosion.Mushroom cloud over Palestine, Ohio

On-scene authorities decided to conduct a 'controlled release' of the toxic chemicals. Residents of East Palestine were later asked to evacuate to a radius of 1 mile.

Then, on Monday, February 6, 2023 crews conducted the "controlled release" creating a huge a large cloud of black smoke. Local residents described it as looking like a mushroom cloud.

The evacuation order was lifted on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.

On February 10, 2023, Norfolk Southern sent a letter about it to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency

Subsequently, people who have returned have described a variety of health symptoms, including a burning sensation in their eyes, skin irritation, nausea, headaches, animal deaths, fish kills and a strong lingering odor.

You can see a PBS video about the disaster here.


  • Sunday, February 19, 2023 - A second train and third derails in Ohio – weeks after East Palestine disaster sparked health concerns -
    This news story says this is the third train to derail since the disaster in East Palestine, Ohio." Another train has derailed in Ohio, this time in Delphos, a small city approximately 88 miles southwest of Toledo near the state's western border. Law enforcement in Delphos was notified around 12:45am on Sunday that a train Dam breakrunning through the centre of the city derailed near a grain elevator, according to Your Hometown Stations. There were no reports of injuries and it does not appear the train was carrying any hazardous substances."
  • March 4, 2023: News are reporting that heavy rain has caused Leslie Run Creek to rise, and spill over the makeshift dam, near the derailment sight. For details, click here to see 19 News report.

Chemicals released

Chemicals reported in the derailed train cars include:

  • vinyl chloride
  • ethylene glycol monobutyl ether
  • isobutylene.
  • ethylhexyl acrylate, a carcinogen, toxic to the lungs and nervous system.Palestine Ohio chemical cloud

Chemicals produced and released in the "controlled release" include:

  • phosgene (a nerve gas used in WWI) and
  • hydrogen chloride (a powerful acid)

Here is the EPA list of chemicals the train carried.

What and where is being affected?

The release has taken 2 forms: gaseous airborne emissions, clearly seen in the dark chemical clouds and materials spilled onto the ground directly or precipitated from the gas and returning to earth. The most like mode of spread of the latter is by waterways. See the graphic at right, which shows the watershed and flow of surface waters from the area.

Of course, airborne contaminants will be carried by prevailing winds, which tend to flow from west to east, variations in the jet stream and high and low pressure areas, storms passing through which can carry the contaminants in a different direction entirely.

IIn both water and air, the farther it moves from the spill, the more it will be diluted. It is impossible, at present to know where or if a point of dilution will occur at which the risk drops to an effective zero. Certainly, we can say that the closer living organisms are to the source, the greater the risk to their health.

Strange Coincidence?

Oddly, this spill occurs few months after the movie White Noise was released. This movie is about an industrial accident from a train derailment that was shot in Ohio. The movie was released on Netflix in 2022.

Health affects of the compounds in the spill

As noted above, there are the chemicals contained in the train cars which were released and also new compounds formed by the chemical reaction of the spilled materials, included those produced in the fires. Hopefully, authorities are sampling the air and water closest, to determine what these compounds are andOhio River Basin watershed - affected area from Palestine OH chemical spill how they are migrating in soil, air or surface and ground waters.

Federal Response?

The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg has been receiving criticism for saying nothing at first and little since about the spill.

But Buttigieg made no mention of the Ohio train derailment while speaking at a conference this morning but did find the time to say that there are too many white people who work construction.

There's a lot of finger-pointing going on: Buttigieg accusing the Trump admin of relaxing train safety rules regarding breaks and notifications. State officials accusing the railroad of negligence and not accurately reporting the chemicals involved.

Here is the EPA contact information for this spill:

This is the EPA page about the spill.

Site Contact:
Rachel Bassler
Public Information Officer

([email protected])

Site Location:
East Palestine, OH 44413
NRC#: 1359227


Many references are incorporated into the text above, by the links to the sources. Below are additional references.

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