I have a question.
To be fair, plenty of outlets did cover the story with an article or two.
But a story about a plume of toxic gas settling across the Midwest should have garnered a bit more attention. I guess we were all busy trying to decipher the State of the Union and looking up at Chinese balloons.
From USA Today:
Days after crews released and burned toxic chemicals carried by a train that wrecked in Ohio, residents were concerned about toxic substances that could be lingering in their evacuated neighborhoods.
About 50 cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in a fiery crash Friday in East Palestine, according to rail operator Norfolk Southern and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Vinyl chloride was released into the air Monday from five of those cars before crews ignited it to get rid of the highly flammable toxic chemicals in a controlled environment, creating a dark plume of smoke.
Residents in the immediate area there and nearby in Pennsylvania were evacuated because of health risks from the fumes and had not been allowed to return as of Wednesday.
Vinyl chloride is a chemical used nearly exclusively for the manufacturing of PVC materials. It is a known carcinogenic that causes liver toxicity.
After the train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on Friday, February 3, authorities decided to burn the spilled chemical so it wouldn't leech into the environment.
That burn looked like this:
Igniting the vinyl chloride created phosgene and hydrogen chloride, two compounds that are not exactly safe for living things.
Phosgene was used as a chemical weapon in the trenches of WWI. In fact, phosgene was the main killer in the compound "mustard gas" that we usually associate with chloramine gas (what you get when you mix ammonia and bleach).
From Business Insider:
Phosgene was much more effective and deadly than chlorine, but the symptoms could sometimes take up to 48 hours to manifest. Its immediate effects are coughing and irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract. It can cause the build-up of fluid in the lungs, leading to death. It's estimated that as many as 85% of the 91,000 deaths attributed to gas in World War 1 were a result of phosgene. It's hard to put a precise number on it, since it was commonly used in combination with chlorine gas, along with the related chemical diphosgene.
Its partner in crime in the train burn, hydrogen chloride, is slightly less toxic, but produces significant irritation in the lungs, eyes, and airways.
Ohio authorities said the burn would probably be dispersed enough so these elements didn't pose a significant threat, but these gases are heavier than air and can collect in valleys, basements, and other low-lying areas. While the EPA said it was monitoring the situation and that none of its readings "found anything to be concerned about."
But not everyone is buying what the alphabet agencies say these days.
From the NY Post:
Animals are falling sick and dying near the site of a hellish Ohio train derailment last Friday which released toxic chemicals into the air, according to reports — sparking fears of the potential health impacts the crash could have on humans.
Taylor Holzer, owner of a dairy farm just outside the evacuation zone in East Palestine, told WKBN several foxes he keeps on his property have become mortally ill.
"Out of nowhere, he just started coughing really hard, just shut down, and he had liquid diarrhea and just went very fast," Holzer told the outlet of one of his animals.
He's not the only one:
But scattered reports of dead animals well outside the original evacuation zone continue to stoke fears.
"My video camera footage shows my chickens were perfectly fine before they started this burn, and as soon as they started the burn, my chickens slowed down and they died," said Amanda Breshears of North Lima. "If it can do this to chickens in one night, imagine what it's going to do to us in 20 years."
Here's more video evidence:
To make matters worse, authorities have reportedly arrested and harassed anyone trying to take photos or videos of the site, including a reporter who was in the middle of a livestream.
And another testimony from a local scientist:
When government authorities think they're being the good guys by keeping the truth from us little people, they're probably not being the good guys. The past three years (and all of human history) should have taught us this.
Seems pretty important, no? Even the commies think so: