East Palestine Residents Could See Long-Term Health Concerns From Toxic Chemicals: Researchers

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EPA responds, says its data shows levels of ’79 monitored chemicals are below levels of concern’

Weeks after the train derailment carrying hazardous chemicals in Ohio, an analysis shows that residents could be subject to a range of long-term health complications after finding nine air pollutants at higher-than-normal levels.

Researchers at Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon wrote on Friday that nine out of about 50 chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency said were present on the train that derailed in East Palestine on Feb. 3 are higher concentrations than “normal.” Texas A&M’s account wrote that “if these levels continue, they may be of health concern” and then flagged acrolein—used as a chemical warfare weapon during World War I—as one of particular concern.

Other chemicals that were seen at higher-than-normal levels include vinyl chloride, benzene, and naphthalene, according to their analysis. Air samples were most recently taken in East Palestine on Feb. 23.

The two universities then asked two questions: “Are there other chemicals in the air that EPA isn’t monitoring?” and “what about locations [where] EPA doesn’t have a monitor?” Researchers said they used a mobile air quality laboratory to evaluate concentrations of about 80 chemicals in East Palestine’s air and will produce the results at a later date.

Both federal EPA and state officials previously said that testing of East Palestine’s municipal wells showed no water quality issues, while some have said that the village’s water is fine to drink. In an update on the EPA website on Feb. 20, the environmental agency wrote that it is still operating “real-time community air monitoring network 24 hours a day” and that the “air quality in the community remains normal.”

EPA Response

A spokesperson for the EPA told The Epoch Times on Friday that its “24/7 air monitoring data continues to show that exposure levels of the 79 monitored chemicals are below levels of concern,” referring to chemicals that would present short-term adverse health impacts.

The analyses Friday “assume a lifetime of exposure, which is constant exposure over approximately 70 years,” said the agency spokesperson, adding that the EPA doesn’t anticipate such chemicals to remain elevated “for anywhere that long.”

By Jack Phillips

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