Biden admin insists Ohio air is safe after chemical explosion sparks fears

The Biden administration and state officials are reassuring residents in eastern Ohio that the air is safe to breathe after conducting a controlled release of toxic chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with Govs. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Josh Shapiro, D-Penn., said the air quality had been sampled multiple times in the region and found to be below levels of concern.  On Feb. 3, a train carrying vinyl chloride, a dangerous colorless gas, and operated by the transportation company Norfolk Southern Railroad derailed in Columbiana County, Ohio, which is located along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Shortly after the derailment, Norfolk Southern opted to release the gas from the derailed cars, potentially releasing deadly fumes into the air, to prevent a potentially disastrous explosion. “U.S. EPA continues to conduct air monitoring throughout the East Palestine community,” the EPA said in a statement Sunday. “Air monitoring since the fire went out has not detected any levels of concern in the community that can be attributed to the incident at this time.” OHIO MAYOR FURIOUS WITH NORFOLK SOUTHERN AFTER TRAIN DERAILMENT: ‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE’ The agency added that residents may still “smell odors” from the site and should call their doctor if they experience symptoms. DeWine’s office said that based on its monitoring data the area was determined to be safe for community members to return to their residences. In a statement Monday, the EPA said while it continues to assist air monitoring efforts, it didn’t make the final decision recommending residents return home. OFFICIALS ADVISE EVACUATION OVER EXPLOSION CONCERNS AFTER TRAIN DERAILMENT IN OHIO “Health agencies and the fire department made the determination for residents to return home,” the agency told Fox News Digital. “EPA provided air monitoring data to health agencies and the local fire department to help make this decision.”  “EPA is assisting the voluntary residential indoor air screening offered by Norfolk Southern,” the statement continued. “The home screening effort was designed based on information provided by health agencies. EPA air monitoring devices used for indoor air screening include instruments that can detect to vinyl chloride and other chemicals of concern from the derailment.” While government officials and independent experts said the data showed the air was safe and that the controlled burn had been properly conducted, local residents and other experts have expressed concern about the situation. They have noted that, in addition to vinyl chloride, other toxic chemicals were being transported by the derailed train. ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS PLAY KEY ROLE IN BIDEN ADMIN FOREIGN POLICY, EMAILS SHOW “We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” Sil Caggiano, a local hazardous materials specialist, told the local outlet WKBN-TV. “I was surprised when they quickly told the people they can go back home, but then said if they feel like they want their homes tested they can have them tested. I would’ve far rather they did all the testing,” Caggiano added.  “There’s a lot of what ifs, and we’re going to be looking at this thing 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the line and wondering, ‘Gee, cancer clusters could pop up, you know, well water could go bad.” And a local farmer told the outlet that his animals have been sick since the release of chemicals and that, from what he’s observed, the fumes are “definitely not safe” for animals or people. However, Norfolk Southern said Monday the company has continued air monitoring efforts in the region and in homes, confirming that it is safe for residents. “We continue working with Ohio EPA and US EPA to conduct air and water monitoring in the community,” Connor Spielmaker, a spokesperson for Norfolk Southern, told Fox News Digital. “General air monitoring is being performed 24 hours a day in the community for the substances associated with the derailment and fire. Air monitoring results indicate that the air in the community is safe.”  “We’ve completed close to 300 in-home air monitoring visits and none have had indicated unsafe air quality,” he continued. “We’ve also begun testing of private well water sources. We’ll continue to remain engaged with local, state, and federal partners to remediate the site.”
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