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EPA to review toxic vinyl chloride after Ohio train derailment

This evaluation process is expected to last for a minimum of three years.
EPA to review toxic vinyl chloride after Ohio train derailment
Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 11, 2023

The Biden administration might soon assess the risks from vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing chemical that burned in toxic smoke after the February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to examine the dangers associated with several chemicals, with a particular focus on those utilized in plastic manufacturing, according to a statement obtained by the Associated Press.

"EPA could begin a risk evaluation on vinyl chloride in the near future," the agency told the AP.

Vinyl chloride is commonly used in making PVC plastic pipes and toys.

A range of chemicals are eligible for review and if they proceed with the review of vinyl chloride, the chemical will undergo an assessment to establish whether it poses an "unreasonable risk to human health or the environment," the AP states. This evaluation process is expected to last for a minimum of three years.

The EPA says long-term exposure to vinyl chloride by inhaling or through oral contact in humans has led to instances of liver damage and cancer, and its use has been banned in aerosols, drugs and cosmetic products since 1974.

In late February, after the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, the EPA ordered the transportation company Norfolk Southern to conduct a cleanup of contaminated soil and water resources near the site and to reimburse the EPA for cleaning services.

Although officials said the air was safe after the derailment, there are still lingering concerns over the long-term impacts after vinyl chloride and other chemicals released into the atmosphere.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

SEE MORE: Cost of Norfolk Southern train derailment doubles to $803 million


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