In the vicinity of East Palestine, Ohio, a train derailment and controlled explosion site, a mass die-off of animals is now occurring. This is causing great concern for residents and animal owners in the area. Local farmer Taylor Holzer has reported several of his foxes becoming mortally ill since plumes of vinyl chloride and other noxious chemicals were intentionally released from the derailed train cars. Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening and the potential long-term effects.
Toxic Chemical Exposure Leads to Illness and Death in Animals
Holzer, a local dairy farmer, has reported that several of his foxes have become mortally ill since the plumes of vinyl chloride and other noxious chemicals were released from the derailed train cars. Symptoms include coughing, liquid diarrhea, watery eyes, and puffy faces. Smoke and chemicals from the train are the only things that can cause these symptoms, according to Holzer. Holzer believes the chemicals that people are being told are safe in the air are definitely not safe for animals or people.
Vinyl Chloride Exposure Linked to Cancer and Other Health Complications
Vinyl chloride, a chemical that was being transported on the train, is linked to dizziness, nausea, headache, and breathing complications, according to University of Toledo environmental engineering professor Ashok Kumar. Vinyl chloride is also known to cause cancer in the liver and other organs. Exposure to this chemical can cause long-term health effects, including liver, lung, and several other types of cancer.
Controlled Burn and EPA Air Monitoring Tests
Authorities performed a controlled burn of the chemicals to avoid a “catastrophic tanker failure” that could have resulted in a larger explosion. However, the air monitoring tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supposedly show no toxic threats, and area residents were told days ago that it is now safe to return home. Nonetheless, the sick and dying animals in the area beg to differ, raising concerns about the accuracy of the EPA’s air monitoring tests.
Long-Term Health Risks
In the past, there have been similar incidents where vinyl chloride spillage occurred. For instance, in Paulsboro, New Jersey, in 2012, vinyl chloride spillage resulted in the state’s Department of Health compiling and issuing a fact sheet on the potential effects of exposure, which were previously unknown. Both human and animal studies show that exposure to the toxic chemical is linked to higher rates of liver, lung, and several other types of cancer. The Wisconsin Department of Health also released a fact sheet on vinyl chloride, revealing that people exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride may have an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Moreover, damage to male sperm-producing organs has occurred in laboratory animals.
It’s essential to take this event seriously and consider the long-term effects of toxic chemical exposure. Animal deaths and illnesses in the area are clear evidence that there is a problem. When incidents like this occur, authorities should take every measure to keep people and animals safe and be transparent about the potential health risks associated with toxic chemical exposure.