Train Derailment causes Toxic Chemical and Water Worries in Ohio

Tragic event sparks new Congressional proposal.

Aiden J. Sweet, Sandscript Author

On February 3, a train containing toxic and flammable chemicals had derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, starting a massive fire that covered most of the town in thick black smoke. Moments after the accident, both East and West sides of the village were forced to evacuate leaving people worried about pollution, health, transportation, and even a possible major explosion because the flames from the accident were spreading way too quickly.


When the train derailed, not only did it cause a huge fire and force people to evacuate, but there were also some chemicals on board that spilled into a nearby river affecting nearly seven miles of the river and killing 3,500 fish because of the toxicity of the chemicals. This also forced residents to take serious precautions by drinking bottled water instead of getting drinking water from the chemical-infested river. 


No injuries or deaths have been reported from the accident, but others complain about smelling odors from chemicals and having a sick feeling. People were sent to investigate and start cleaning up water and soil that is contaminated. 


The explosion also highlighted discrepancies within the federal safety requirements for trains carrying hazardous materials. The train traveling through Ohio met these requirements because it was carrying less hazardous substances than required by the Transportation Department’s regulations. As a result, two Democratic Congressmen plan to propose a bill that would lower this hazardous substance threshold. Although this terrible event had absolutely detrimental effects, it is raising more awareness for current federal regulations and changes that need to be made.