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Newly-released drone footage shows the progress being made in treating the waterways of East Palestine after a devastating train derailment that released toxic chemicals into the streams and soil. The railroad derailment occurred on February 3, and since then, the community has been grappling with the effects of toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen.

Source: Storyful News & Weather/Youtube

The footage shows the installation of booms and dams by the rail company, Norfolk Southern, to restrict the flow of contaminated water in two surface water streams. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are also on the scene, helping with the cleanup efforts. The rail company has offered compensation of $1,000 to residents in addition to a $1 million fund to help the community.

However, a newly-filed federal lawsuit claims that fish and livestock are dying as far as 20 miles away from the crash site. Moreover, residents continue to suffer from rashes, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, is planning to discuss the issue with locals at a town hall on Friday, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Many of the chemicals involved in the derailment, such as vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene, have dangerous effects on the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and nervous system. Even inhalation of these chemicals can cause shortness of breath, coughing, drowsiness, and dizziness. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause liver damage in the long term.

Locals have been complaining of rashes, persistent coughs, headaches, and nausea. Even pets and wildlife have shown signs of being poisoned. Some residents have refused to let their children drink the water, despite local officials declaring it to be safe. A health clinic is being planned to be opened in East Palestine, providing medical aid and assistance to the residents.

While state and federal officials insist that the area is safe for residents, residents are still skeptical. The Biden administration has deployed experts to help assess the dangers in the area. Famed environmentalist, Erin Brockovich, is also planning to visit the town and demand justice for the victims, and US Department of Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has sent a letter demanding accountability from Norfolk Southern and calling for greater safety regulations.

The situation in East Palestine highlights the importance of holding corporations accountable for their actions, especially when it comes to public safety. As a society, it is crucial that we demand greater responsibility from corporations in maintaining the safety of the environment and communities.

We must all be vigilant in the face of potential environmental disasters and demand swift action to mitigate the effects of toxic chemicals in our communities. It is our duty to hold companies accountable and demand that they prioritize the safety of the public and the environment.

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