October 12, 2023

NAS to Hold Workshop on East Palestine Derailment, Hazmat Transportation

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) will hold a public workshop on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 to discuss health effects from the Feb. 3 derailment of a train carrying vinyl chloride and other hazardous materials outside of East Palestine, Ohio. The workshop will include participants from government, non-governmental organizations, private sector organizations, and the affected communities. Potential topics of discussion include exposures associated with the derailment; physical, mental, social, and behavioral health impacts; acute and long-term health effects; surveillance regarding risks; and lessons learned from prior disasters.

The Norfolk Southern train that derailed had 149 cars, 20 of which carried hazardous substances, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. No injuries or fatalities were reported from the derailment, but a fire led to the evacuation of approximately 2,000 residents. Concerned about a possible explosion, authorities conducted a controlled venting and burning of more than 115,500 gallons of vinyl chloride held in five cars. An EPA cleanup of the derailment site has so far resulted in the removal of approximately 148,600 tons of solid waste and 34.3 million gallons of wastewater, according to an update dated Oct. 5 on the EPA website.

More information about the workshop is available from the NAS website. NAS is also calling for public comments and submissions of resources. Visit the EPA website for updates about the East Palestine cleanup.