COLUMBUS, Ohio — The formal opening of a permanent health clinic in East Palestine is expected to provide residents with a space where they can get ask questions, get tested and better understand any health concerns they may have two months after a toxic train derailed.
Since that Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine derailed on Feb. 3, residents have complained about a variety of symptoms including headaches, burning lips, rashes and breathing troubles.
The train derailment – a subsequent controlled burn – released chemicals like vinyl chloride into the area. Despite a large fish kill in area creaks and residents posting videos of a chemical sheen in the water – ongoing monitoring and testing of the air and water have so far been deemed safe.
But there is still uncertainty and mistrust among residents who have complained about off and on symptoms since the derailment occurred.
Charisse Munyon told 10 Investigates that she’s experienced an ongoing cough. Her fiancé has experienced ailments like burning eyes.
“I’ve had a nasty cough from the week about since it happened,” she said, adding that she’s uncertain whether it’s the change in the weather or something else. “It’s all very frustrating that’s the best word I can describe it.”
Governor Mike DeWine – speaking at a ribbon cutting for the health clinic on Monday – said he hopes the clinic to can help address residents’ concerns.
“Having a clinic here back by the hospital I think goes a long way to answer that concern,” DeWine said.
To date, at least 30 lawsuits have been filed against the rail company alleging wrongdoing. Last last week, a federal judge in Ohio ordered that they be consolidated.
A truck hauling away approximately 40,000 pounds of contaminated soil overturned along State Road 165 – spilling roughly 20,000 pounds of the soil onto the roadway and nearby berm, according to the governor’s office. The local fire department and the Ohio EPA are on scene. State Road 165 is closed at State Road 617 in Mahoning County and at State Road 14 in Columbiana County. Ohio State Highway Patrol said the driver of the truck sustained minor injuries.
The governor’s office also said that 11.4 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been removed and that 17,300 tons of contaminated soil remain on site. Roughly 19,000 tons have been removed.