University Researchers Allege Air Quality May Cause Health Problems After Toxic Ohio Train Derailment

  • Post category:News / US News

  • University researchers analyzed Environmental Protection Agency data to provide a third party interpretation of elevated chemical levels in East Palestine, Ohio, air quality, Weihsueh Chiu, a Texas A&M University veterinary physiology and pharmacology professor, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • The analysis found that there are chemicals in East Palestine that are recording higher than normal levels and could result in health problems.
  • “We did this because with our data that we collected earlier this week, we’re going to want to compare with what the EPA has been reporting, as well,” Chiu told the DCNF.

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The air quality in eastern Ohio may be linked to reported health concerns after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine three weeks ago, an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data published Friday by university researchers found.

The EPA tested more than 500 homes for harmful chemicals and is conducting air monitoring efforts in the community after a Norfolk Southern train derailed and chemicals including vinyl chloride were released into the air and water, according to the EPA website. Residents have since reported health concerns including rashes and headaches, and an analysis published by Texas A&M Superfund Research Center determined that chemicals detected in the town could be linked to various health concerns, including cancer.

“Compared to EPA National Air Toxics data (NATA 2014), some concentrations in East Palestine (OH) for 9 out of ~50 chemicals EPA reported are higher than ‘normal.’ If these levels continue, they may be of health concern (especially acrolein),” the center tweeted Friday.

Acrolein exposure can result in “inflammation and irritation of the skin, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As everyone moves into the cleanup phase that this … data does suggest that for many chemicals that the EPA has been monitoring the levels are below levels of concern, but there are some that probably should be kept an eye on to make sure over the long-term that these elevated level don’t continue,” Weihsueh Chiu, a TAMU veterinary physiology and pharmacology professor, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The data published was an analysis of EPA data and put in context of “normal background levels around the country” and “in terms of what levels are considered sort of safe in the long term,” Chiu explained. The analysis revealed normal levels of volatile chemicals including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and Xylenes, according to the Twitter thread.

“We can’t say whether these levels are causing the current symptoms,” Chiu told the Washington Post.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and TAMU researchers evaluated the town’s air concentration of approximately 80 chemicals between Feb. 20 and Feb. 21, the Twitter thread reads. The results have yet to be released but seek to answer whether the EPA is not monitoring specific chemicals and if there are areas in the town that the EPA did not monitor.

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“We did this because with our data that we collected earlier this week, we’re going to want to compare with what the EPA has been reporting, as well,” Chiu told the DCNF. “Given that there hasn’t been really much interpretation of the data that EPA released, we thought it would be useful for the community to sort of have a third party come and look at the data and provide some interpretation.”

The EPA, the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center and Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at CMU did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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