A massive, dark plume was seen hanging ominously over Palestine, Ohio, on February 6th, which resulted from a series of “controlled explosions” carried out after a major train derailment caused by Norfolk Southern Railroad. The state ordered a “controlled release” of vinyl chloride, a toxic substance, to prevent explosions and clear the tracks. These controlled explosions were approved by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and were meant to strategically release chemicals from the derailed tankers and burn them in pits. However, the derailment and explosions released one of the most toxic substances known to man: dioxins.
The Danger of Dioxins Dioxins is a highly toxic and harmful byproduct created when a chlorinated compound is burned. When polyvinyl chloride is burned, it creates a highly toxic and pervasive poison called dioxin. Dioxins are not some benign vapor or campfire smoke that can be inhaled without biological consequence. According to the EPA, even being exposed to just 1/32 millionth of a gram of dioxins is the maximum allowable lifetime exposure to this biological poison. However, no reports have been published regarding dioxin testing by the industry, or by local, state, or federal officials.
The Potential Disaster Although the official story is that the government feared that the chemicals would explode uncontrollably, there is no mention of the potential environmental and human health disaster that could warrant a permanent evacuation of the area, leading to a potential ghost town scenario. The EPA is currently allowing residents to return to their homes and claiming it’s safe to do so, but this statement may not be entirely accurate. Neil Donahue, a professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon, expressed concerns that the controlled explosions have unleashed dioxins, which are known to be worse than vinyl chloride as carcinogens.
The Toxicity of Dioxin The EPA’s reference dose for dioxin is 0.000,000,001 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg/day). This reference dose is the highest amount EPA scientists believe an individual can consume regularly without incurring any disease. Dioxins are found in many chlorinated materials such as wood preservatives, herbicides, and feminine products that have been bleached. Dioxins are also found in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are a form of dioxins. These highly carcinogenic compounds were formerly used in industrial and consumer products, but their production was banned in the United States by the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1979 and internationally at the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.
The Effects of Dioxin Dioxins can cause many adverse effects on human health. The most serious sources of dioxins include house fires, chemical spills, and trash incineration. Chemically, dioxins have a double benzene ring structure, making them extremely durable and persistent. Dioxins build up in the food chain in lipids and cause lipid metabolism disorders. They are also bioactive, disrupt hormones, and can pass through breast milk. Dioxins were the principal cancer-causing compound found in Agent Orange, which was used in Vietnam. In 1983, dioxins caused a complete evacuation of Times Beach, Missouri, a city that was unincorporated and abandoned because of civilian exposure to dioxin contamination from industrial sources.
The Future of Palestine, Ohio The dioxin disaster in Palestine, Ohio will be felt for years to come. Dioxins are not something that can be forgotten tomorrow. The chemicals are so toxic and harmful that they could lead to a permanent evacuation of the area.
Why is the government downplaying the dioxin disaster?
There are many potential reasons why the government and media may be downplaying the dioxin disaster that was created by the controlled explosions in Palestine, Ohio. One possibility is that the government is concerned about liability and doesn’t want to take responsibility for the long-term health effects that could result from the release of dioxins. Another possibility is that they don’t want to alarm the public or disrupt the local economy, which could lead to panic and economic instability.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that this disaster could have serious long-term health and environmental consequences for the residents of Palestine, Ohio, and the surrounding areas. The dioxins released by the controlled explosions are highly toxic and persistent, and they have the potential to cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage, and other serious health issues.
What can be done to address the dioxin disaster in Palestine, Ohio?
The first step in addressing the dioxin disaster in Palestine, Ohio is to conduct comprehensive testing of the area to determine the extent of the contamination and the health risks posed by the dioxins. This testing should be conducted by independent experts and should be made available to the public.
Once the extent of the contamination is known, the government and local officials should take immediate action to minimize the health and environmental risks posed by dioxins. This may involve evacuating the area, providing medical care and monitoring to those who have been exposed to the dioxins, and implementing measures to prevent further exposure and contamination.
Long-term solutions may involve cleaning up the contaminated areas, holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions, and implementing regulations and policies to prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future.
The controlled explosions that occurred in Palestine, Ohio may have cleared the tracks and prevented a larger disaster, but they have also created a new, potentially more serious disaster in the form of a massive dioxin release. The government and media have downplayed the seriousness of this disaster, but the facts speak for themselves: dioxins are highly toxic and persistent, and they have the potential to cause serious health and environmental problems.
It is time for the government and local officials to take action to address the dioxin disaster in Palestine, Ohio. This includes conducting comprehensive testing, minimizing the health and environmental risks posed by dioxins, and implementing long-term solutions to prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future. The residents of Palestine, Ohio, and the surrounding areas deserve nothing less than a full and transparent response to this crisis.