Officials say water, air is safe after toxic train derailment in Ohio

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 7:42 AM EST
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(CNN) - Norfolk Southern officials say the company is working with Ohio environmental and health agencies to respond to the environmental impact caused by the train derailment in East Palestine on Feb. 3.

While officials say the air and water are safe in the area, some residents say they are still concerned about potential health hazards caused by the accident.

“Watch what happens when you disturb the water bed. Look at these chemicals. Look at these colors. See chemicals and it has kind of a butane smell to it,” Sen. Doug Mastriano said during a visit to the area.

On Sunday, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw demanding accountability, adding that “the people of East Palestine cannot be forgotten, nor can their pain be simply considered the cost of doing business.”

“We worked with the Ohio EPA on safe operations and safety for the community,” Shaw said.

Shaw also says that all air and municipal water tests have come back clean, but some people should still drink bottled water.

“Private well testing, we need to continue to monitor and test the wells and wait for those tests to come back,” he said.

Some residents say they are suffering from ailments like headaches and sore throats since the derailment.

“After those symptoms, I also noticed that I have this rash on my arms that was not here before I came here,” East Palestine resident Jessica Helpy said.

Ohio Senator Sherron Brown says he understands why people in the affected areas are skeptical and concerned.

“They know that corporate lobbyists had far too much influence in our government and they see this is the result and this kind of thing shouldn’t happen,” he said.

The Ohio Department of Health is opening a health clinic on Tuesday for those affected by the train derailment, according to a statement released by the agency.