While the government pats itself on the back for shooting down “UFOs”, a real crisis rages in Ohio. That would be the chemical spill that took place in East Palestine, Ohio. There a more than 100-car-long Norfolk-Southern train derailed. That would have been bad anyway but was made far worse by what a number of cars in the train were carrying: a toxic chemical called vinyl chloride.
Twenty cars on the train were carrying hazardous chemicals. Ten of them were derailed with forty other cars on the train. Of then ten carrying hazardous chemicals that were derailed, five were carrying pressurized vinyl chloride.
That presented emergency responders with a problem: vinyl chloride’s boiling point is around 7 degrees Fahrenheit and it gets explosive when it mixes with water, so waiting could mean rain, which could then in turn mean a massive explosion. To prevent that, emergency responders lit it on fire, hoping to burn off the vinyl chloride and prevent a massive explosion from shredding through the town.
Explaining the decision in a statement, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said “Within the last two hours, a drastic temperature change has taken place in a rail car, and there is now the potential of a catastrophic tanker failure which could cause an explosion with the potential of deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile.”
Here’s what that controlled burn looked like:
That’s more or less what happened. It was burned off, but at the cost of producing phosgene gas. You might recognize that gas because it was one of the poison gases used as a weapon in World War I. The BBC, recounting the experience of a soldier attacked by gas in World War I, said “by 1917, when Owen went to the front, chlorine was no longer being used alone. Another, more dangerous “irritant”, phosgene, was the main killer. But phosgene is slow to act – victims may not develop any symptoms for hours or even days …”
ZeroHedge, reporting on what resulted from the “controlled burn,” said “However, that operation sent large plumes of smoke containing vinyl chloride, phosgene, hydrogen chloride, and other gases into the air as the flames from the controlled burn raged on for days. Phosgene in particular is a highly toxic gas that can cause vomiting and respiratory issues. The toxicity of phosgene gas is so potent that it was previously used as a chemical weapon during the First World War.”
So nasty stuff. And it looks like the phosgene and other chemicals are already doing their deadly work:
Dead fish are being pulled from rivers outside East Palestine, Ohio.
The trucks doing the work are labeled EnviroScience, an Ohio-based company that provides "time-sensitive solutions to environmental challenges."
— 🇺🇸Texas Tweetheart🇺🇸 (@MechelleChristy) February 13, 2023
#7 Amanda Breshears found her chickens dead ten miles from East Palestine.
“As soon as they started the burn, my chickens slowed down and they died."
— kanekoa.substack.com (@KanekoaTheGreat) February 13, 2023
In addition to the dead chickens, one resident told WKBN 27 that the chemicals were having a delterious effect on her foxes, saying “Out of nowhere, he [a fox] just started coughing really hard, just shut down,” Holzer recalled to local media outlet WKBN 27 News. “This is not how a fox should act. He is very weak, limp. His eyes are very watery and weepy. Smoke and chemicals from the train, that’s the only thing that can cause it, because it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. The chemicals that we’re being told are safe in the air, that’s definitely not safe for the animals…or people.”
While that’s all far from good, the real issue could be the potential contamination from the early derailment and the insouciance of those in positions of power and responsibility as to contamination of other states and their water supplies. ZeroHedge, reporting on that, notes:
Testimony from Holzer, Schwarzwaelder, and others paints a drastically different picture than the official narrative tailored by officials who assured residents that the situation was under control. The poor air quality presents short and long term health risks to the public considering the carcinogenic effects of the chemicals. Carcinogens like vinyl chloride can cause cancer in organs including the liver, according to Kevin Crist, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering who also serves as the Director of Ohio University’s Air Quality Center.
Although officials in charge of the emergency response utilized techniques like dispersion modeling in order to calculate and mitigate the risk of airborne chemicals, the chemicals disbursed following the derailment pose other significant risks of contamination. Chemicals also spilled into the Ohio River toward West Virginia, prompting officials from the neighboring state to shut down water production in the area and turn to alternative sources for water supply. Soil contamination is another significant risk that leaves officials weary of broader implications affecting public health than those associated with the air pollution alone.
However, the magnitude of those risks hasn’t been apparently recognized by the leadership across various states affected by the disaster. According to Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, there were no concerns regarding the air and water quality in the area. Nevertheless, the governor reiterated that a shelter-in-place order remained in effect for Pennsylvanians within two miles of East Palestine. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency took a similar tone, stating nothing unexpected was seen following the controlled burn. James Justice of the EPA summed up his agencies position by saying “So far, so good and we’re going to continue to monitor until the fire’s out,”
The ongoing crisis in East Palestine represents an environmental and humanitarian disaster that hasn’t been seen in the United States in recent memory. The scenes from East Palestine look as if they’re taken straight out of a horror film depicting nuclear winter.
In spite of that, the magnitude of this story has been seemingly scrubbed from the public view as national media outlets continue to run sensationalist headlines about issues that look innocuous in comparison. It is an instance of history being rewritten in real time, setting a precedent that would allow victims of other widespread devastation to be swept under the rug. However, the scenes of the horror engulfing this small town in America’s heartland may prove to make this disaster impossible to ignore, rightfully putting the spotlight on the shortcomings of state and federal agencies tasked with emergency response management whose continued lack of accountability enables them to fail the American public time and time again.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
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