Vinyl Chloride Not the Only Chemical Found in Fiery Ohio Derailment

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has written the Norfolk Southern Railway describing the chemicals found at the site of a Feb. 3 train derailment and controlled burn in East Palestine, Ohio, that some local residents have linked to sickness or death among animals.

The Feb. 10 letter from the EPA to Norfolk Southern notes “multiple rail cars and tankers were observed derailed, breached, and/or on fire.”

Coverage of the incident has mainly stressed the presence of vinyl chloride, a chemical used to make PVC pipes and other products. The National Cancer Institute notes that vinyl chloride has been linked to cancers of the brain, lungs, blood, lymphatic system, and, in particular, the liver.

Yet, the EPA’s letter mentions other potentially hazardous chemicals in those derailed tankers.

Specifically, it notes the presence of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, isobutylene, and butyl acrylate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s online chemical database notes that the chemical solvent ethylene glycol monobutyl ether “can cause serious or permanent injury.”

“Ingestion or skin contact causes headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness,” the website states regarding the chemical, which is found in many household products.

The same chemical database notes that 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, which is used to make paints and plastics for things like contact lenses, “can cause significant irritation” and may be explosive at high temperatures.

It states that isobutylene, a liquified gas used to make aviation fuel, can incapacitate and, in some circumstances, asphyxiate those exposed to it.

Butyl acrylate, meanwhile, is described in that database as potentially a source of serious or permanent injury and a relatively unstable substance. It is used in making things like paints, sealants, and adhesives.

The Epoch Times has asked the EPA for more detail on the potential environmental and human health risks posed by the chemicals involved in the derailment.

By Nathan Worcester

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