Unless you live under a rock, you are likely aware that a freight train derailed in a small town in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line at about 9 PM on February 3rd.
There were more than 100 cars on this train, about twenty of which were classified as carrying “Hazardous Materials.” It turns out some of those cars were carrying vinyl chloride.
Vinyl chloride is a gas used to make hard plastic resin called poly vinyl chloride (PVC) and exposure to vinyl chloride may increase a person's risk of developing cancer. Human and animal studies show higher rates of liver, lung and several other types of cancer when exposed. Vinyl chloride can affect a person's liver, kidney, lung, spleen, nervous system, and blood. In other words, it is extremely dangerous.
In this case, huge plumes of smoke, persisting odors, and the reported deaths of pets and other animals that were alleged subjected to the smoke was the major concern. The immediate impact of this trainwreck is the effects of the inhalation of the toxic smoke from the fire. This smoldered for days, and while I am not an expert on air quality, I do know that breathing this vinyl chloride smoke-laden air is not good. But the options were limited at that point, you simply cannot hold your breath long enough to allow the smoke to dissipate.
We are not sure what all the side effects will be, both short-term and long-term. I will leave that to the experts and medical personnel, but I do believe the long-term effects will not be positive
However, what I am focused on in this article is the water. Vinyl chloride was not the only chemical that was released. It is reported that butyl acrylate and other chemicals may have been released as well.
We were told the EPA has been on site and is testing water daily. People close to this situation say that is not the case and that the Railroad Company is hiring out the testing. To me, that sounds like a conflict of interest (if this is true). The EPA should be doing the testing or at least, in charge of the testing. To-date, no one has found vinyl chloride in the water supplies. The testing will continue for quite some time, although I would not expect to find a lot of Vinyl Chloride in the ground water as it was in a gaseous state and was burned off. If it is found it could take weeks, months, or years.
This is a terrible situation and needs to be taken seriously. This is just the latest in the litany of contaminants that have found their way into our water supplies. Every few months it seems like we find more contaminants in the water supply, the latest being pre-fluorinated compounds call PFOA and PFAS.
I could list all the contaminants that have been found in the water supplies, but this article would be too voluminous to read. I have been preaching for years that each person must also take responsibility for their water. It is the Governments responsibility to provide safe drinking water to its' citizens, but let's face it, they frequently fail. We could go into the politics of this, but that is not my intent. We cannot take the quality of our water for granted.
However, we do not have to sit here and just drink the water someone gives us… and bottled water is not the answer. There are solutions to these problems, and they are readily available. Next to air, water is our most precious resource. The quality of the water we ingest and bathe with impacts our health, over time.
As a nation, we have a water supply that is bacterially pure (at least a high percentage of the time), but in the “Industrial Age" we have discovered many contaminants in the water supply, even municipal water supplies, which are exceedingly difficult to remove. These chemicals such as GenX, PFOS, PFAS, and others are deemed “forever chemicals” because they do not ever go away. It remains to be seen what will happen in East Palestine, Ohio, but at the very least, I think the railroad should be responsible for the installation of a whole house reverse osmosis system in each home and should be responsible for maintaining it.
Whole House Reverse Osmosis System
Everyone should have access to safe and clean water. We have the systems readily available. What are we waiting for? This should start immediately! Also, let me remind you that you can take control of your water supply. Be 100% confident that your family's water supply is of the highest quality. Water treatment solutions which include micron filtration, carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, deionization, and ultraviolet disinfection are stocked and ready to go. Contact a Certified Water Specialist and get your water tested.