East Palestine, Ohio
A train carrying vinyl chloride, known as a human carcinogen, derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, in February 2023, on the border of Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
In order to avoid explosions, Norfolk Southern, the company that owned the chemical, conducted “controlled releases” by burning it, despite serious concerns raised by the local community about its harmful impact on health and the environment. The burning of the vinyl chloride results in dioxins, one of the most persistent and toxic chemicals, even at low levels of exposure.
The Norfolk Southern train derailed due to a hot axle that heated one of the train cars carrying polypropylene plastic pellets.
Less than 15 miles from the derailment site, in Monaca, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, a new Shell Petrochemicals facility has received numerous violations and has exceeded its annual emissions limits since coming online in November of 2022.
The region is disproportionately impacted by the petrochemical industry.