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Terrifying things we in East Palestine still don’t know since train derailment

Since a train derailment this past February that spewed a million pounds of toxic chemicals that were subsequently set ablaze, we the people living and working in East Palestine, Ohio, are caught in an eerily similar nightmare that happened to the residents of Times Beach, Missouri, roughly 50 years ago.

In 1972, town officials in Times Beach hired a contractor to spray oil on the dirt roads to suppress dust, a common practice at the time. However, no one was aware that the oil used was contaminated with dioxin from an Agent Orange manufacturer. 

Dioxin is a dangerous chemical that, once absorbed, can remain in the human body for more than 10 years and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and hormone interference.

Ohio plume

A black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern trains, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, file)

In addition to the town, the contractor sprayed some 25 other locations with the dioxin-contaminated mixture. People at those sites soon became sick with headaches, nosebleeds, diarrhea, stomach pain and skin rashes. Some 75 horses died at two arenas that had been sprayed. In 1974, a CDC investigation of the arenas confirmed dioxin in the soil.

Susan Reynolds is a lifelong resident of the area and owner of three small businesses in downtown East Palestine, three blocks from the site of the derailment.


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