Two Months Later: The Toxic Train Derailment

By Clara Galley, March 28, 2023

On Feb. 3, 2023, a train filled with toxic materials derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, leading to dangerous conditions and residents being told to evacuate their homes and city. Since then, many events have unfolded that have not often been reported on as heavily as other news stories (like sightings of possible UFOs) this year.

Now nearing almost two months since this tragedy originally occurred, let’s take a look at the situation to reflect on the event and the effects it has had on this small town and the people that live there. 

From the Beginning

The Norfolk Southern train, filled with toxic-when-burned vinyl chloride, derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, a small town of around 4,800 people. Though officials say that no one was injured in the accident and that the majority of the cars of the train had non-toxic cargo, there are still concerns about the long-term impact this will have on the town.

Authorities decided to burn the contents of the train to possibly get rid of them as soon as possible, but burning the vinyl chloride created a toxic effect on wildlife and nature in and around the town. Officials then called for around half of the East Palestine residents to evacuate their homes because of the vinyl chloride gas released into the air.

There are also concerns about the effects this event will have on the residents. Many animals have been found dead due to these toxic chemicals and it is very likely that these chemicals have infiltrated the bodies of water in the area. 

Residents have also shared that they have been getting more headaches, which could possibly be a sign of exposure to the chemicals. Long-term effects on residents, including cancer and other diseases, have not yet been fully studied because the incident was a fairly recent occurrence. Hopefully, in the future there will be more answers to the health effects of chemical exposure. 

Fast forward to March 3, 58 lawsuits have been filed against Norfolk Southern by the Attorney General. According to the NY Times, “The lawsuit, which also raises claims of public nuisance and trespass, seeks to force the company to pay civil penalties, costs and damages to reimburse the state for economic losses and harm to natural resources.” 

If you would like to read a longer timeline of events, including updated information as more things occur, we highly recommend that you check out this NY Times article about the incident!

Wrapping it up…

What does all of this mean for us? Well to start, share this story with others. Awareness of this issue will help more solutions to arise, so sharing this story with others that may not be as up-to-date on the news will help build compassion and empathy for those in East Palestine, Ohio. 

Finally, continue to keep yourself up to date on all of the news going on locally, nationally, and internationally. This will help you to be able to know what is happening in the world and even begin praying for those affected by this situation and others like it.

A look at the toxic train derailment in Ohio and its effects on a small town