After the crash: East Palestine, Ohio a year on.

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Just over a year ago a Norfolk Southern train, carrying a variety of hazardous chemicals, derailed outside East Palestine, Ohio. Among the chaos, Five tanks of vinyl chloride remained intact but the East Palestine fire chief concluded that a controlled release and burn of the chemical into the air would be the most prudent course of action.

From this point on, local observations and the official line has diverged. Most worrying for the residents were reports that air quality was safe, when people were seeing heathy pets dying and thousands of dead fish floating in rivers and lakes.

On Redditt a concerned citizen asked ‘How come AQI in East Palestine still good? I’m sorry but I do not have a deep understanding of air quality. I’m just asking questions to try to understand new concepts.’

The fact that the chemicals released in the derailment were said to include vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, benzene residue, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene prompter another Reddit user to reply: ‘AQI measures ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. You could spray the whole area with anthrax and AQI would be great because it doesn’t measure for it.’

12 months on and many residents have moved on from feeling that they weren’t being told the truth to suspecting that they’ve been forgotten about.  

Photo journalist and documentary maker Jon Farina (@JonFarinaPhoto on X)  went to East Palestine on the anniversary of the crash to get a sense of local feeling. His film was broadcast by the campaigning media group Status Coup News and we are grateful for their permission to share it on AQN TV


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