(NewsNation) — Research teams from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Purdue University fell sick after being sent to evaluate environmental hazards in East Palestine, Ohio, after the toxic train derailment. These researchers experienced many of the same symptoms the town’s residents have been reporting.
Andrew Whelton was a member of a Purdue University team of researchers who began experiencing symptoms after testing the environment in East Palestine.
“Well, the fact that we were not told that CDC investigators got sick is a real issue,” said Whelton. “The government agencies that are responding to this disaster need to be more transparent, share the information that they have with the people, because for over a month, people are complaining that they were getting sick. And government testing results kept saying that the air and water is safe, so therefore, you’re not getting sick.”
Last month, an independent environmental firm identified “probable carcinogens” in the river water surrounding East Palestine that the Ohio EPA did not previously detect.
The firm did not definitively determine that the compounds found came from the controlled burn conducted at the derailment site, but said the test results suggested they had.
“I think there really needs to be an alignment of government investigators getting data to answer very specific questions,” Whelton told NewsNation.
Over a month after the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, many residents are still reporting experiencing symptoms.
Chris and Jamie Wallace, along with their 3-year-old daughter Jamie, were diagnosed with upper respiratory infections six weeks after the crash.
“She’s not doing very well at all. I’ve never seen (Jamie) so sick in my life,” Chris told NewsNation.
Chris Wallace has been told repeatedly by authorities that “help is on the way,” but he says nothing has been done.
According to Whelton, “There needs to be some type of independence here, some type of independent oversight and influence and questioning about what they’re doing, so that the response can directly serve the people impacted.”