Democrat President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is refusing to test for chemical compounds in East Palestine following the toxic train derailment disaster in the small Ohio town.
The EPA refuses to test for dioxins as part of its work monitoring the eastern Ohio town, WKBN reported.
As Slay News reported, East Palestine residents have been reporting a range of disturbing symptoms after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed on February 3.
The crash cast a large chemical plume into the air while toxins seeped into the surrounding land and waterways.
The Norfolk Southern train that derailed was carrying chemicals including carcinogenic vinyl chloride.
After the crash, a controlled burn was conducted on February 6 to prevent an explosion.
The controlled burn released the chemicals into the air and water.
According to WKBN, EPA Region 5 administrator Debra Shore stated Monday that the agency would not test for dioxins.
Dioxins are groups of toxic chemical compounds.
Dioxins take a long time to break down and could cause serious health concerns including cancer, and reproductive and developmental problems, according to the EPA’s website.
They can be formed through combustion or burning fuels.
“Dioxins are ubiquitous in the environment,” Shore reportedly said.
“They were here before the accident, they will be here after, and we don’t have baseline information in this area to do a proper test.
“But, we are talking to our toxicologist and looking into it.”
The EPA has since conducted air and water tests and maintains that the levels are safe.
However, residents have been reporting health concerns such as rashes and headaches after the derailment.
Stephen Lester, science director at the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, told East Palestine residents at a town hall on Feb. 23 that ignoring dioxins has been “one major mistake” in EPA testing.
“The level of dioxin that gets into a body, a person, an animal, a cow, that could lead to health problems is extraordinarily low,” Lester said, according to WKBN.
“It does not take very much.
“I’d be very concerned if I had a farm, especially if I was aware, as some people described in that meeting, that the black cloud from the burning had settled onto their property.”
He alleged the EPA is not testing for dioxins because they would “be put in a place where they have to address it,” but Shore said that the EPA is not currently testing for the compounds because they “don’t have any baseline information about the levels of dioxins which are produced also by wildfires, by backyard grilling, by a host of other things,” WKBN reported.
“I’ve never heard anybody, any researcher talk about cookouts,” Lester reportedly said.
“Because that’s an infinitesimal concentration, if at all.
“Because dioxins form not just cause there’s burning, you need a chlorine source.”
“We are concerned that … the burning of large volumes of vinyl chloride may have resulted in the formation of dioxins that may have been dispersed throughout the East Palestine community and potentially a much large[r] area,” the letter reads.
Shore confirmed to WKBN the EPA received the letter.