(NewsNation) — Nearly one month since a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in Ohio, people living in East Palestine and surrounding areas say they are still getting sick.
Some residents’ health problems do not seem to be improving, and families speak about the nightmares they are facing each and every day.
The families tell NewsNation that while they’re glad that East Palestine is not yet a ghost town, they’re not quite understanding why what they’re hearing and what they’re feeling are two very different things.
Some residents say the officials giving the all-clear on safety inspections doesn’t quite align with the ongoing symptoms that they’re still experiencing.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran DeWine, visited the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on Wednesday to get the latest update on the cleanup and removal of hazardous waste.
The couple also walked Leslie Run, a now-contaminated creek that Ohio EPA said it is in the process of sediment washing.
“That’s what we’ve said all along at Ohio EPA, that we know the contamination was here immediately,” said Anne Vogel, director of Ohio EPA.
It was the governor’s first time to see what many locals now call “ground zero.”
This week, the EPA said their tests have shown the drinking water and air to be safe. Locals tell NewsNation if that’s the case, why are they still having symptoms?
“Around my nose, I have a constant burning, said resident Darren Gamble said. “It’s the best way I can describe as if you’ve ever cut up hot peppers and you rub your nose after you call it pop out. That’s basically what I’ve had.”
Gamble and his wife Stella lived less than a mile from the train tracks Nearly a month later, their children and grandchildren are severely sick.
“My two granddaughters, they’re twins, they are 13 years old,” Gamble’s wife said. “Their doctor wrote on their medical reports that they had chemical burns to their throats and their skin. My daughter written on her medical report that she had chemical bronchitis.”
The medical report for their son’s fiancée reads contact dermatitis due to chemicals.
The Gambles are inside the so-called danger zone. But what about those on the outside?
“I don’t want to deal with cancer just because of somebody’s negligence,” said resident Janine Evans.
Evans lives four miles down the road in Negley. Her property is flanked by the creek and train tracks. On Feb. 3, she watched that black cloud come over her hills and hasn’t felt well for a month.
“My nose is all like raw on the inside,” she said. “And I thought at first it was like sinuses. It’s weird. My face was itching.”
Neighboring communities feel like they’ve been forgotten. No financial assistance, no door knock from the EPA. Evans is part of a group that plans to sue.
“I’m not worried about whether or not I get anything. I just want to make sure that I don’t want my water ruined. I don’t want cancer,” Evans said. “I mean, I don’t want any of this stuff because all the money in the world and go and take that away. And if you ruin water, what do you have?”