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East Palestine Residents Reportedly Suffering From ‘Chemical Bronchitis’ After Train Derailment

© AP Photo / Gene J. PuskarWorkers at disaster zone in East Palestine, Ohio.
Workers at disaster zone in East Palestine, Ohio. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2023
Residents of the Ohio town of about 4,750 were allowed into their homes days after the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment led to a "controlled release" of toxins into the air in order to avoid what officials claim could have been a catastrophic blast. Locals fear future health effects after witnessing the deaths of animals and local wildlife.
Health workers treating people from East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding communities have reported a pattern of worrying symptoms. These include what they say could be a form of chemical bronchitis (also known as industrial bronchitis) – an inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes carrying air to and from the lungs typically caused by prolonged exposure to chemical fumes, acids or dusts.
Workers from QUICKmed Urgent Care, a Columbiana, Ohio-based walk-in clinic, reported that patients have been coming in complaining of a burning sensation while breathing, inexplicable rashes and general fatigue.
Some patients reportedly say the symptoms intensify if they are at home for a prolonged period of time.
"This could be a lot of things, but if you’re leaving your house and [symptoms] improve, and you go back and it comes back, I’m not thinking that’s allergies or not thinking it’s a cold. I think it’s related to that stuff you’re inhaling there," QUICKmed family doctor Deborah Weese said.
“Let’s face it: if it comes down to it, it might be something in the future that comes about from all these chemicals they’re breathing in that we don’t know about, so it’s important that they document all their symptoms,” the physician stressed.
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Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance penned a joint appeal Monday demanding the provision of "baseline" health testing services for residents affected by the February 3 disaster and the so-called 'controlled burn-off' of cancer-causing chemicals, including vinyl chloride, in the days that followed.

“The residents of East Palestine and the surrounding community deserve to know if their health has been compromised by this disaster now and for years to come,” Brown and Vance said in their letter.

Residents of the small Ohio community on the border with Pennsylvania have spent weeks now reporting various symptoms, including shortness of breath, severe headaches, dizziness, coughing and odd rashes. They have also reported the deaths of pets and farm animals, and spotted hundreds of dead fish washing up on the shores of local creeks.
A view of the scene Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, as the cleanup continues at the site of of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment that happened on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.02.2023
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Last week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimated that over 43,000 animals in and around the community had died since the derailment, most of them fish, crayfish and amphibians.
However, local and federal officials and the rail company insist that the situation is safe.

“EPA has conducted 578 home re-entry screenings so far and continues air monitoring at 15 stations within the community. I continue to be pleased that there have been no exceedances for residential air quality standards, and outdoor air quality remains normal,” Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Deborah Shore said in a press statement Sunday.

The EPA indicated that it is working with Norfolk Southern to help remove contaminated liquid from the disaster zone, and preparing to excavate contaminated soil to install monitoring wells in the area to look out for possible ground water contamination.
The train derailment in East Palestine, and the alleged haphazard response by local authorities, the rail company, and the federal government, have sparked outrage locally and nationwide, with the disaster described in some corners as an 'American Chernobyl' or 'Mini Chernobyl' owing to its possible long-term health consequences, and alleged incompetence and lack of transparency from officials.
Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 4, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.02.2023
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Residents were allowed to "safely return home" just days after the disaster. The Biden administration and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg personally took flak for failing to visit the disaster site in a timely manner. Buttigieg didn’t make it to the derailment site until last week, 20 days after the disaster occurred, and one day after former President Donald Trump did.
President Joe Biden hasn't yet visited the community, instead taking a high-profile trip to Ukraine and Poland, where he promised additional billions in support for Kiev in NATO’s ongoing proxy war against Russia.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway castigated Biden’s trip to Kiev as "the biggest slap in the face," to his constituency, saying the president's prioritization of Ukraine over East Palestine "tells you right now he doesn't care about us."
Workers continue to clean up remaining tank cars, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio, following the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern freight train derailment. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.02.2023
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