Ohioans are Terrified to Take a Shower, After a Toxic Derailment
Ohioans are terrified to take a shower, After a toxic railway crash
After a toxic railway crash, Ohioans say, “We’re terrified to take a shower.”
“We’re afraid to take a shower,” people in an Ohio town are still saying after a toxic train derailment. Even though government officials say the air and water are safe, people in East Palestine are still not sure.
EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Doug Brayshaw was sitting on his porch when a huge cloud of black smoke rose from where a Norfolk Southern train had derailed. It looked like a scene from a scary movie.
“It was like a storm like a big storm was coming,” said Brayshaw, a truck driver who lives less than 3 miles from where Norfolk Southern burned dangerous chemicals to prevent an explosion.
Since then, Brayshaw, 63, has worried about whether or not the water in his well is safe to drink. It took 15 days, but on Tuesday, officials finally came to his house to test it. He won’t know what’s going on for even longer, though.
He said that he was told the results could take up to 10 days.
“We’re afraid to take a shower”:
“We’re afraid to take a shower,” said Brayshaw, who has been cooking with water from bottles he gets at a help center set up by the rail company at a nearby church. “I’m so scared that I won’t even let my dog drink water from my well right now.”
Since a 150-car Norfolk Southern train went off the tracks on February 3, residents of East Palestine have been on edge. On Feb. 6, the company started burning five rail cars full of vinyl chloride in a controlled way.
Even though government officials told them the air and water were safe, many people in East Palestine said they are still afraid and worried more than two weeks later.
Efforts to keep Ohioan’s homes safe:
Mothers are turning to social media in a last-ditch effort to get help from the crowd on how to keep their homes safe. Some people have said that they cleaned everything in their homes with dish soap, threw out any food that had been opened, and looked online for the best air purifiers, even though they know that these steps may not help.
Ashley Floor, who is 31 years old, is one of the women who have written about their struggles on a Facebook group for East Palestine residents. “Mentally, I’m exhausted,” she said.
The company gave 100 air purifiers to residents:
In some cases, the help that Norfolk Southern has given people more questions. The company says that it has given out more than 100 air purifiers to residents, but experts say that most consumer air purifiers can’t get rid of compounds like vinyl chloride.
Jenna Catone, who is 31 years old, had to stay in a hotel for 10 days until Norfolk Southern said that the air quality in her home had been tested.
When a local company said it had “acquired the home cleanup contract from Norfolk Southern” for people who lived in the evacuation zone, she jumped at the chance and signed up for what she thought would be a home cleanup.
She got “fogged” instead. She said that a man from the cleaning company knocked on the door and didn’t take his shoes off. He then sprayed her house with a disinfectant and an odor-neutralizer. She said, “They didn’t even bring a rag with them.”
When asked about residents’ ongoing worries, Norfolk Southern didn’t answer directly. But the company said that on Monday, it launched NSMakingItRight.com, a website that gives regular updates to the public.
A Norfolk Southern representative said, “If there’s something we haven’t talked about, we want to hear from residents so we can give them the most up-to-date information.”
The EPA told Norfolk Southern on Tuesday to clean up any polluted soil and water and pay for it. The agency said that the company must also pay back the costs of cleaning homes and testing the water in the city every week.
In an interview with NBC News, Michael Regan, who is in charge of the EPA, said, “I’d like to see things move faster.” “I’d also like to see things be more open, which is why we’re doing this.”
So far, the EPA and Norfolk Southern have tested the air quality in 533 homes and taken samples of the water in the city, and found that they are safe. So far, 52 samples have been taken from homes that get their water from private wells, but the results of the tests have not yet come back.
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