Friday, 21 Jun 2024

Train carrying hazardous materials derails in North Dakota

Train carrying hazardous materials derails in North Dakota


Train carrying hazardous materials derails in North Dakota

A train carrying hazardous materials derailed in North Dakota late on Sunday night in the latest toxic railway accident to hit the US.

The incident happened less than two months after a train derailed near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, causing a raging fire and leaking cancerous chemicals near the small town of East Palestine.

Emergency response personnel and hazmat experts were at the crash scene, in a rural area of Richland county, on Monday morning. There was no fire and the spill occurred in a cold and snowy area, minimizing the threat to public safety, according to the rail company.

Officials will allow the spilled materials to freeze in order to aid the cleanup, which is expected to take seven to 10 days.

The Norfolk Southern train derailed 38 cars, including 11 known to contain toxic materials, causing explosions, a fire and a massive plume of smoke. The spilled cargo included vinyl chloride, a flammable chemical known to cause liver cancer. Rail officials, concerned at the prospect of the vinyl chloride exploding, chose to burn off the chemical in a controlled fire.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of the East Palestine derailment were ordered to evacuate in case of an explosion, but most were told to shelter in place. Officials from the rail company and from the US Environmental Protection Agency have said that the area is now safe, but some independent scientists and outside activists have expressed grave concerns.

Burning vinyl chloride generates dangerous compounds called dioxins, Lester said, which are associated with the military herbicide Agent Orange and with Love Canal, New York, the site of one of the most notorious chemical disasters in the US.

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