Residents Demand Medical Testing in Lawsuit After Exposure to Toxic Train Spill
Residents affected by the fiery train derailment along the Ohio-Pennsylvania line have taken legal action in a bid to obtain medical monitoring.
The two Pennsylvania residents who filed a federal lawsuit are seeking to compel rail operator Norfolk Southern to establish a health monitoring program for residents in both states.
The lawsuit calls for the rail operator to cover the costs of medical screenings and related care for anyone living within a 30-mile (48-kilometer) radius of the derailment to determine who may have been affected by toxic substances that were released after the accident. The suit is also seeking damages, which have not been determined.
On February 3, about 50 cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in the Ohio village of East Palestine. Although no one was injured in the derailment, investigators have since determined that a broken axle caused it.
Following the accident, officials decided to release and burn vinyl chloride contained in five tanker cars, which caused the release of hydrogen chloride and the toxic gas phosgene into the air. This has led to significant concerns over the residents' health.
Environmental regulators have been monitoring the air and water in surrounding communities. They have said that the air quality remains safe so far, and drinking water supplies have not been affected.
But some residents have complained about headaches and feeling sick since the derailment.
Norfolk Southern declined to comment on the lawsuit.