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US Train Derailments Picking Up and Causing Dangerous Side Effects

Aviva Markowitz

Staff Writer

On February 3rd in East Palestine, Ohio, a train derailed and resulted in a 38-car-pile-up. The smoke from the train released vinyl chloride—a toxic chemical linked to liver cancer—into two local streams and into people’s water. Homeowners near the scene had to evacuate until authorities gave them permission to return. While the situation is alarming, it is not uncommon. There were over 1,000 train derailments in 2022, averaging 3 per day, and that’s just in the US. The most frequent cause of derailments is the lack of track safety, wheels failing, or a wheel’s axle falling off due to speed or a heavy load. The train company responsible for the Ohio derailment is being sued for the interruption of civilian lives. Residents report sore throats, rashes, nausea, and headaches due to the chemicals in the air and water. To lessen the amount of derailments, new rules have been put in place by the Ohio River Valley Institute like more frequent rail inspections. Though the problem is still at large, many people are working hard to keep the residents and environment safe.


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