EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WJW) – One month after the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, residents became emotional at a town hall hosted by various local, state and federal agencies.
The event was designed to answer questions from the crowd, but attendees were clearly frustrated and furious.
One after another said they’re tired of hearing how well clean-up efforts are going when their lives are literally falling apart.
“I throw up, my mouth feels numb, I can’t think properly,” said one woman.
“The skin fell off my hands from the machines when I went back to work. I couldn’t breathe and I quit my job,” said a man nearly breaking down in tears.
When a representative from Norfolk Southern offered an apology saying, “We are sorry, we feel horrible about it,” the crowd became even angrier and screamed loudly, shutting him down.
Earlier in the day, Environmental Advocate Erin Brockovich also returned to town for a separate event with her experts, where she outlined the disparity between what she’s seeing and what officials are reporting.
“You were told it’s safe to come back in this entire area that was evacuated,” said Brockovich. “Yet something is still not right. People have gone to doctors and shared photos of going to the doctor with pits in their throats. Their throats have been burned, yet they can’t get information.”
Brockovich encouraged residents to fight back and to hold the railroad accountable.
“Stay very focused on who did this, Norfolk Southern, and what’s happening to the people,” she said.
The last time she was in town, she warned residents about dangerous dioxins and the need for screenings.
Also Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine’s officer forwarded an EPA release confirming that screenings for dioxins will begin.
It read, in part, “out of an abundance of caution, (U.S) EPA will continue to sample for indicator chemicals and will also require Norfolk Southern to begin sampling directly for dioxins.”
DeWine also called on President Joe Biden to visit East Palestine.
When asked by reporters, the president said, he “will visit East Palestine at some point.”