EPA Takes Action: Orders Dioxin Testing for East Palestine Residents

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that Norfolk Southern test for dioxins in East Palestine, Ohio, following a train derailment on February 3. Dioxins are a family of toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and immune system damage.[0] The EPA said their monitoring for indicator chemicals has suggested a low probability for the release of dioxins from this incident.[1]

However, Pennsylvania Congressman, Mike Kelly has sent a letter to the EPA demanding the agency expand the one mile radius around the derailment site so Pennsylvanians can receive federal air, water and soil testing.[2] Kelly is seeking an increase in coverage so that more people in Pennsylvania can access federal air, water and soil testing.[3] This would allow more families to receive assistance.[4]

In a joint letter last month, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown (Democrat) and J.D. Vance (Republican) urged the EPA and state authorities to conduct tests for dioxins. The EPA deployed its Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) mobile laboratory, which will conduct real-time air monitoring.[5]

Scientist Stephen Lester said there is no doubt in his mind that dioxins were released during the Feb. 6 controlled burn of vinyl chloride.[6] He said the EPA’s reasoning for not testing is a “lame excuse” and “wrong.”[6]

The EPA has mandated that Norfolk Southern clean up contamination from the derailment and said if dioxins are found to be at a level that poses any unacceptable risk to human health or the environment, the company will be forced to conduct immediate cleanup operations.[7]

Norfolk Southern was expected at a public meeting with East Palestine residents Thursday evening, where they were expected to be grilled by community members and local officials.

The EPA order comes ahead of a meeting in East Palestine on Thursday night, where Norfolk Southern representatives are expected to be grilled by community members and local officials. With the order, the EPA has taken an important step towards ensuring the safety of the people of East Palestine.

0. “Freight rail companies expected to join safety reporting system after melted equipment in Ohio disaster spurs federal …” erienewsnow.com, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/48482134/operator-of-train-that-derailed-in-ohio-is-ordered-to-meet-with-residents-as-concerns-continue-over-health-effects-and-the-contamination-left-behind

1. “EPA orders dioxin testing at Ohio train crash site” POLITICO, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/02/epa-dioxin-testing-ohio-train-crash-00085339

2. “Sens. Fetterman and Casey, Rep. Deluzio urge Norfolk Southern to assist Darlington Township residents” WTAE Pittsburgh, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.wtae.com/article/east-palestine-train-derailment-fetterman-casey-deluzio-norfolk-southern-darlington-township/43152131

3. “Mike Kelly calls on EPA to expand one-mile radius around East Palestine derailment site” WFMJ, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.wfmj.com/story/48486017/mike-kelly-calls-on-epa-to-expand-onemile-radius-around-east-palestine-derailment-site

4. “Residents vent frustrations during public meeting | News, Sports, Jobs” SalemNews.net, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.salemnews.net/news/local-news/2023/03/residents-vent-frustrations-during-public-meeting-2/

5. “East Palestine residents share concerns over ongoing air, water, soil testing following derailment” News 5 Cleveland WEWS, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/east-palestine-train-derailment/east-palestine-residents-share-concerns-over-on-going-air-water-soil-testing-following-derailment

6. “EPA not testing for dioxins, scientist calls reason ‘lame’” WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland, 28 Feb. 2023, https://fox8.com/news/epa-not-testing-for-dioxins-scientist-calls-reason-lame/

7. “EPA orders Norfolk to test East Palestine for dioxins” UPI News, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2023/03/03/EPA-East-Palestine-Norfolk-ordered-test-dioxins/4261677829889/

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