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Ohio train derailment: Carcinogen chemical level in soil declared ‘safe,’ but is it? – National

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are no unsafe levels of harmful chemicals in soil taken from East Palestine, Ohio, but it claims contrary to existing science From the authorities on what should be considered a “safe” exposure level.

and Reports prepared by independent laboratories Pace Analytical, prepared for the state of Indiana, examined three soil samples collected from a landfill in Indiana where hazardous waste from Eastern Palestine is stored. The samples, which came from the site of a Norfolk Southern train derailment last month that leaked toxic chemicals, were determined not to contain harmful levels of dioxin, a toxic chemical that can cause cancer. it was done.

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Last week, EPA representatives told Congress they believed the samples were below US government standards of conduct and therefore safe. EPA Administrator Debra Shore testified that dioxin levels in Indiana samples were “very low.”

The collected soil contained the most toxic dioxin compounds at levels of 700 ppt. The federal cleaning standard for residential areas is set at 1,000 ppt.

Considering that in 2010 the EPA found that dioxin was associated with cancer risk, there is a discrepancy. Changed to 72ppt in residential areasthis is because if the samples were held to that low standard, the dioxin levels would actually be about 10 times Exceeding acceptable levels.

A proposal to change the dioxin threshold was rejected by the Obama administration at the time.

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Linda Birnbaum, former director of the US National Toxicology Program and EPA scientist, told The Guardian that soil samples contained dioxin levels up to 14 times higher than in other states.

Birnbaum told the publication, “We have confirmed the presence of dioxins in eastern Palestinian soil, although the levels are not high. EPA needs to test more extensively in soils in the area.”

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It is unknown at what depth in the landfill the samples were collected or if the soil was diluted with other non-contaminated material. Experts argue that more testing is needed to give value to this study.

In a statement, the EPA defended its position on dioxin levels in Eastern Palestine.

“Available data analyzed and verified by an independent laboratory indicate that waste from Eastern Palestine sent to Indiana does not contain harmful levels of dioxins,” the agency wrote. I’m here.

After eight Norfolk Southern freight cars derailed on the night of February 3, about 5,000 residents of Eastern Palestine suffered burns from spills of polyvinyl chloride, a chemical used in the production of plastics, in a catastrophe and subsequent burns. As a result, I was forced to temporarily evacuate my home.

FILE – A black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio on February 6, 2023 as a result of a controlled explosion of part of a derailed Norfolk Southern train. The EPA said levels of dioxins analyzed from soil samples collected from East Palestine were below federally mandated cleanup limits, but far below what the EPA proposed as “safe” in 2010. surpassed.


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Some houses in East Palestine are only meters away from where the train derailed. Residents in and around the town have filed a series of class action lawsuits against Norfolk Southern, alleging they were exposed to “high levels of toxic chemicals.”

In particular, dioxin stay environment, or in the human body, over the years. Human exposure to dioxins usually occurs through soil and food chain contamination. This toxin can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones, and cause cancer.

Using files from Kathryn Mannie of Global News

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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