Ohio Train Derailment

Photo Source: NBC4

Photo Source: NBC4

Domenico Tambe, Writer

On February 3, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio, a train derailed, causing a release of hazardous chemicals into the air, water, and soil. The cause of this incident was an overheated wheel bearing on the train, which was 253 degrees hotter than the air temperature. Twenty-three cars of the one hundred forty-nine car train were sent off track, carrying more than 100,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals as they were released (CNN). This can pose a threat to health hazards; considering this, precautions needed to be taken in order to prevent this, which involved evacuations from the surrounding area.

Since the occurrence of the train derailment, no one was injured. However, there are still precautions being taken from the hazardous materials that were on the cars on the train as they derailed (NPR). Considering the controlled burn that was utilized during this time, it is of utmost necessity that precaution is taken so that no one gets in contact with these materials.

Notably, from the train derailment, one of the burned chemicals, Vinyl Chloride, is a highly flammable gas. When burned, it creates poisonous gasses such as hydrogen chloride and Phosgene and may even explode. “Poisonous gasses are produced in fire, including hydrogen, chloride, and phosgene. When burned at low concentrations, these chemicals can cause damage to the eyes, skin, lungs, nose, and throat. Containers may explode in fire.” (Nj.Gov). The train derailment was hugely tragic, and in order to prevent an explosion, which would lead to a much worse situation, the chemicals were burned to prevent that occurrence.