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Experts Slam Norfolk Southern ‘Air Tests’ in East Palestine

Устройство контроля качества воздуха висит на знаке остановки в Восточной Палестине, штат ОгайоInternationalIndiaAfricaPublic health experts are warning that the ‘air testing’ being carried out in East Palestine by a for-profit company hired by Norfolk Southern is “almost like smoke and mirrors.”The ‘air testing’ recently conducted in East Palestine residents’ homes was deficient in a number of key ways and was actually carried out by a company contracted by the rail company Norfolk Southern, a new report has revealed.East Palestine, Ohio was smothered in toxic fumes last month when the authorities intentionally burned off huge quantities of vinyl chloride following a train derailment in the village.Residents fled the area in the immediate aftermath. However, after an evacuation order was lifted, many have returned, with some reportedly citing ‘air testing’ results which apparently determined that they could return home without danger.But on Saturday, an explosive new report seemed to confirm what many have come to suspect: “the air testing results did not prove their homes were truly safe.”According to a major British outlet, “the air tests were inadequate in two ways: they were not designed to detect the full range of dangerous chemicals the derailment may have unleashed, and they did not sample the air long enough to accurately capture the levels of chemicals they were testing for.”As University of Kentucky environmental health professor Erin Haynes reportedly put it, “it’s almost like if you want to find nothing, you run in and run out.”Making matters even worse, “CTEH, the contractor that provided them, was hired by Norfolk Southern, the operator of the freight train that derailed,” the report detailed.As another outlet previously explained, “the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) has a name that might sound like a state or federal agency, but in reality it is a private, for-profit corporation that has been present after hundreds of ecological disasters—from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to COVID-19.”While the relevant section has since been deleted, the company previously explained on its website how the data it’s collecting now could be weaponized against the victims of the Norfolk Southern train derailment disaster in East Palestine:“A carrier of chemicals may be subjected to legal claims as a result of a real or imagined release,” CTEH noted, adding, “should this happen, appropriate meteorological and chemical data, recorded and saved… may be presented as powerful evidence to assist in the litigation or potentially preclude litigation.”But despite its alarming track record and apparent desire to go after those affected by the crisis, the company remains a major force in the campaign to assuage locals’ health fears.“It was CTEH, not the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that designed the testing protocol for the indoor air tests,” explains the British report, adding, “and it is CTEH, not the government, that runs the hotline residents are directed to call with concerns about odors, fumes or health problems.”In a recently-published video, the controversial company insists that their ‘testing’ shows there’s no danger to East Palestine residents.“All of our air monitoring and sampling data collectively do not indicate any short- or long-term risks,” a CTEH toxicologist claimed.But CTEH’s failure to register so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its tests doesn’t necessarily mean that people’s homes are actually safe, a number of experts noted. As Haynes reportedly explained, “VOCs are not the only chemicals that could have been in the air.”And even a week after the derailment, she said it’s likely the compounds would have dissipated already.“To keep the focus on the air is almost smoke and mirrors,” Haynes added. “Like, ‘Hey, the air is fine!’ Of course it’s going to be fine. Now you should be looking for where those chemicals went. They did not disappear. They are still in the environment.”

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