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Railroad offering just $5-per-resident after derailment caused toxic mushroom cloud

Railroad offering just $5-per-resident after derailment caused toxic mushroom cloud
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On Monday (6 February), the village of East Palestine, Ohio, saw a dark and toxic mushroom cloud erupt due to a railway derailment, leading residents to evacuate their homes.

And now Norfolk Southern, the railroad company that was responsible for emitting the toxic vinyl chloride, has offered a $25,000 donation to assist the area’s population of nearly 5,000 people - which works out at only $5 a person.

A press release from the railroad company read: “We have established a Family Assistance Center to address the needs of the community and support those directly impacted. Additionally, we are supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross and their temporary community shelters through a $25,000 donation.”

After a derailment on 3 February, a “controlled release” of vinyl chloride was made to prevent a potential explosion.

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Vinyl chloride is an odourless and hazardous chemical compound that when burned, creates hydrogen chloride, which is extremely volatile.

It can also produce phosgene, a gas that was used as a chemical weapon in World War I.

The gas remains in the air and has links to liver and neurological damage, and other cancers, the CDC says.

According to WKBN, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the derailment and a federal. A federal lawsuit has also been filed by many of the East Palestine residents.

On 8 February, government officials did tell residents of the Ohio-Pennsylvania that were evacuated that they could go back home, based on air quality samples.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also said the area’s drinking water is safe for consumption.

Still, concerns are prevalent, with some residents finding dead fish, among other things.

Norfolk Southern has a history of going against safety protocols.

Since 2017, the company has cut jobs by more than a fifth, disregarding concerns that understaffing can cause railway safety to diminish.

Indy100 reached out to Norfolk Southern for comment via email.

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