EPA pressured for transparency around dioxin testing after Ohio derailment – DNyuz

EPA pressured for transparency around dioxin testing  after Ohio derailment

The Environmental Protection Agency says levels of cancer-causing chemicals called dioxins in East Palestine, Ohio, are “similar to typical background levels” after a train derailment and chemical burn last month, but the agency has yet to publicly share specific data about the potent toxic compounds in the soil.

The gap in between agency statements and public data has caused frustration among some East Palestine residents. This is because the agency attempts to gain trust from residents, as well as reassure them about potential toxins ..

” “As far dioxins are concerned, this testing has not been completed quickly enough,” Jami Wallace (an East Palestine resident who is also a community organizer for River Valley Organizing) said. “We require transparency or people will assume.”

According to an update from the incident response center, the EPA stated that “final results” would be available within “coming weeks”. The agency held a community meeting last Thursday in part to discuss questions about soil sampling and its preliminary findings.

Environmental groups have been critical of how the EPA has communicated about dioxins and says the agency needs to do more to substantiate its claims to earn community trust. I find it absurd that the EPA can make statements like these without providing data. There is no transparency in this process at all,” Stephen Lester, a toxicologist and the science director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, an advocacy group based in Virginia, said in an email.

Dioxins are toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, disrupt the immune system and cause reproductive issues. They have been the subject of numerous environmental cleanups, from Times Beach in Missouri to Love Canal (New York) to Mount Dioxin, Pensacola, Florida.

Dioxins can be created in poorly controlled fires where chlorine is available. Because five of the derailed cars in East Palestine contained vinyl chloride, experts think it’s possible that the cloud of smoke released by the chemical fire could have contained dioxins.

Sampling and testing for dioxins is expensive and can be a lengthy process. Because dioxins are so toxic, laboratories must be capable of detecting tiny amounts of the compounds.

Dioxins don’t break down quickly and tend to accumulate in food chains, making them a particular concern for rural landowners and farmers.

Norfolk Southern, the railroad company responsible for the Feb. 3 train derailment and subsequent chemical burn, hired a contractor to sample soil for dioxins and other compounds. The sampling plan requires the contractor to inspect at least 277 sites within 2 miles of the derailment for signs of visible ash.

Sites with visible ash should be sampled. At least 20% of sites without visible ash were also supposed to be sampled, the plan says.

Critics argue the soil sampling plan should be geographically broader, designed to test the landscape systematically and not centered around visible ash.

The post EPA pressed for transparency about dioxin testing following the Ohio derailment originally appeared on NBC News .