Breaking Down Breaking News: The Ohio train derailment


Credit: Alyssa Ao

Selena Liu

What you need to know:
On Friday, Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern train, heading toward Conway, PA, derailed in East Palestine, Ohio due to the overheating of a wheel bearing on the train. The train derailment started a large fire and released several dangerous chemicals into the air, ground and water sources.

According to a letter written by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some of the chemicals spilled included vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, isobutylene and butyl acrylate, all of which pose various environmental and health concerns. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, on Thursday, Feb. 23, 43,000 aquatic animals were estimated to have died due to the chemical contamination caused by the derailment.

Why it matters:
The biggest concern regarding the derailment is the impact this event has had on the environment. While contamination itself is a major problem, there could be many additional hidden consequences.

After the spill, the chemicals could interact with each other in “complex” and “unknown” combinations and continue to spread to other areas, inflicting further damage. Additionally, some components of the leaked chemicals have been proven to cause long-term health consequences, such as cancer.

Some citizens are extremely upset with the “slow” response from the government, leading the U.S. Secretary of State Pete Buttigieg to request “safety reforms.”

What are other sources to look at?
A photo article of the train derailment and its effects on East Palestine – Dayton Daily News
The CEO of the company who owned the train, Norfolk Southern, testifies before Congress – yahoo ! finance
The organized protest against Norfolk Southern that occurred on Saturday, March 11 – WKBN 27 First News