After a train derailment, and the controversial and seemingly poorly executed decision to allow a controlled explosion to occur of the train’s toxins, the city of East Palestine, Ohio is shaken. As a result of the thick black smoke that covered a miles large radius in the skies of Ohio and Pennsylvania as a result of the “controlled explosion,” hydrogen chloride and phosgene were released into the air, potentially exposing roughly 2,000 people to these dangerous gases and carcinogenic particles.

Within that black smoke, multiple different carcinogenic particles and toxic substances were dispersed around Ohio and Pennsylvania. While the aftermath of the train explosion can’t be judged immediately following, we’re already seeing some issues. Fish by the thousands are dead in the water, small pet and farm animals are reported to have died, and many people did not evacuate. In the years following, its unclear if disease and illness will hit the affected areas, however, negative health effects have already been reported.

Due to the explosion, hydrogen chloride and phosgene were released into the air. These gases are toxic enough to humans and they were used as a primitive form of gas-based warfare in World War 1, as these compounds are more simple that than later-staged weapons.

According to KU Medical Center:

“Phosgene was much more effective and more deadly than chlorine, though one drawback was that the symptoms could sometimes take up to 48 hours to be manifest. The minimal immediate effects are lachrymatory. However, subsequently, it causes a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), leading to death. It is estimated that as many as 85% of the 91,000 gas deaths in WWI were a result of phosgene or the related agent, diphosgene (trichloromethane chloroformate).”

Simply, “mustard gas” is notorious for being utilized throughout World War 1, however, mustard gas only had a mortality of 2%-3%. However, Phosgene, the same chemical that was dispersed throughout Ohio during this poorly executed train explosion, is a chemical that has been attributed to roughly 85% of the 91,000 gas deaths in WWI

Following the explosion from the train, which released extremely toxic vinyl chloride into the air, the EPA said in a statement:

“U.S. EPA continues to conduct air monitoring throughout the East Palestine community,”

“Air monitoring since the fire went out has not detected any levels of concern in the community that can be attributed to the incident at this time.”

According to CNN, as well as multiple other outlets, many different symptoms and environmental issues have already occurred or can be expected moving forward:

-Roughly 3,500 fish ranging across 12 species died from the water contamination washing down streams and rivers

-Known carcinogens were released into the air from vinyl chloride


-Sore throat

-Nose and eye irritation

-Reports of small pets or small farm animals dying after breathing in the air.


It should be noted that at this point, despite thousands of fish having died in the water due to the toxins in the chemicals, health officials are claiming that the water is safe to drink. However, many residents are skeptical of these claims., as other officials are pushing for bottled water during this time. In the end, this results in more mixed reporting for Ohio residents.

According to News Nation Now, “Since the evacuation order was lifted, a growing number of people have reported a burning sensation in their eyes, headaches and strong chemical smells.

Even worse, some media outlets were acknowledging a known carcinogenic chemical in freshwater that killed thousands of fish – then, opted to report that despite the water being toxic enough to kill thousands of fish, somehow, the “drinking water has remained protected.”

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