East Palestine: Experts Say Testing Plan For Cancer-Causing Dioxins Is ‘Flawed’ and Inadequate
By Dave Maylon March 24, 2023
An independent review of the testing plan to check for toxic dioxins near the site of a February train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio has found it to be “flawed” and unlikely to provide the sought-after results.
The dangerous compounds have already been revealed in a limited scope by initial soil testing, with levels, hundreds of times above the threshold that federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists have found could pose a cancer risk.
Still, regulators have expressed optimism about further testing being conducted by the Norfolk Southern-funded contractor Arcadis US.
However, the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice toxicologist Stephen Lester warned that the plan “is very limited and…unlikely to give a complete picture” of the contamination, saying, “I don’t think it’s going to answer the questions people in East Palestine have about dioxin exposure and the risk they have from dioxin exposure.”
Arcadis has stated that their plan was developed “in consultation with” the EPA, yet experts noted problems with the protocol, such as it’s mainly relying on visual inspections instead of systematically testing soil samples.
Linda Birnbaum, a former head of the US National Toxicology Program and EPA scientist, noted how testing will only be conducted up to two miles away from the train wreck site, regardless of evidence of ash being found as far as 20 miles away.
Furthermore, the testing plan fails to explore the contamination of food or water when dioxins are known to be linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, nervous system disorders, and other serious health problems.
Birnbaum remarked, “Why would you limit sampling to where you see ash on the ground…and why are they limiting it to two miles at max? Air travels further.”
On March 3rd, the EPA announced that it would order Norfolk Southern to conduct a test for dioxins—a class of chemicals produced when chlorine is burned, which are used to make products like PVC.