Independent testers report health risks in East Palestine

(NewsNation) — A team of independent testers found that the environment in East Palestine, Ohio, contains acute health risks one month after the Norfolk Southern train derailment.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the air, water and soil are not contaminated, based on their latest findings.

Environmental scientist Andrew Whelton and his team of students from Purdue University carried out independent testing on creeks and homes near the derailment site to analyze what contaminants may still be in the water.

“What we’re finding right now is that the creek poses an acute health risk to the community. Creeks are heavily contaminated with residue,” reported Whelton.

According to Whelton, it’s possible the burn created additional compounds the EPA may not be testing for.

“And so the acute health effects of these things are that you have throat irritation, eye irritation, nausea, and other things,’ Whelton reported. “So there is contamination still in the creek that needs to be addressed. And the public has to be protected.”

Heavy rainfall has reportedly caused a Norfolk Southern dam to overflow just a mile-and-a-half from the derailment site.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement, that the overflow was part of a remediation plan.

“Although it may have appeared that the dam in this area was breached on Friday evening, the overflow of water was part of the mitigation plan to address the increase in water caused by heavy rains. The dam did not fail,” DeWine wrote.

Researchers from Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon also released findings of elevated levels of acrolein in the air, a hazardous pollutant found in smoke.

The amount found in some areas was three times higher than what is typically seen in an urban environment, according to reports.

As mistrust continues to grow between federal officials and residents, Whelton and other researchers say they will continue conducting independent testing.

“Every day is kind of been just full of anxiety. And a lot of anxiety. Yeah. Every day, it’s the fear of the unknown,” said one East Palestine resident.

East Palestine residents are still experiencing symptoms, with one resident saying, “I’ve been having headaches. The rash, when I’m downtown. I use the carwash, I get a rash afterwards. Anywhere I’m exposed on my face.”