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Authorities deal with toxic chemicals after Ohio train derailment

The derailed train. Associated Press/Photo by Gene J. Puskar

Authorities deal with toxic chemicals after Ohio train derailment

Police knocked on doors to evacuate people on Monday before they released toxic chemicals from five derailed tanker cars that were in danger of exploding. The train derailed near the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line on Friday night due to a mechanical issue in a rail car axle and caught fire, authorities said. About 50 of the 100 cars derailed, but no one was injured. Most, if not all, the people within the evacuation zone had left by the release time of 3:30 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

What chemicals are being released? Five of the railcars were carrying vinyl chloride. That chemical is used to make plastic resin products and is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, among other cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. In the controlled burn plan that was implemented, the slow release of vinyl chloride into a trough was ignited, creating a large plume above the village of East Palestine. Officials said they were closely monitoring the air quality. Ten of the derailed cars were carrying hazardous material at the time the train derailed.

Dig deeper: Read Heather Frank’s report in World Magazine on a new system that breaks down plastic waste.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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