After reports of Ohio residents experiencing health problems the EPA steps in

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • EPA Steps in as Ohio Residents Report Health Problems from Catastrophic, Toxic Train Derailment
  • More than two weeks after a train carrying hazardous materials – including the toxic chemical vinyl chloride – derailed in the small village of East Palestine, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency is stepping in and ordering the railroad to take responsibility.
  • “Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess that they created and the trauma they inflicted on this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
  • The wreckage burned for days and residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. Now, they’re reporting health problems including, skin, eye, and throat irritation.

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Growing concerns over toxic chemicals released after train derailment

Derailed Train Chemicals

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • There were more toxic chemicals on train that derailed in Ohio than originally reported, data shows
  • State health officials were initially concerned about the presence of vinyl chloride, a highly volatile colorless gas produced for commercial uses, which spilled after about 50 cars on a Norfolk Southern Railroad train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3 while traveling from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Other toxins, like phosgene and hydrogen chloride, were emitted in large plumes of smoke during a controlled release and burn, prompting officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders in a one-mile radius of the crash site.
  • A list of the cars that were involved in the derailment and the products they were carrying released by Norfolk Southern reveal several more toxic chemicals that were released into the air and soil following the crash.
  • Among the substances were ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene were also in the rail cars that were derailed, the list shows.
  • Contact with ethylhexyl acrylate, a carcinogen, can cause burning and irritation of the skin and eyes, and inhalation can irritate the nose and throat, causing shortness of breath and coughing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Inhalation of isobutylene can cause dizziness and drowsiness as well, while exposure to ethylene glycol monobutyl ether can caused irritation in the eyes, skin, nose and throat, as well as hematuria, or blood in the urine, nervous system depression, headache and vomiting, according to the CDC.

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Smog chokes Indian capital as emergency measures fail to bring relief

A man covers his face with a handkerchief as he walks ina park on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, November 9, 2017.

By Rupam Jain

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A thick cloud of toxic smog 10 times the recommended limit enveloped India’s capital, New Delhi, on Monday, as government officials struggled to tackle a public health crisis that is well into its second week.

A U.S. embassy measure showed levels of poisonous airborne particles, known as PM 2.5, had reached 498 on Monday afternoon, compared with the upper limit of “good” quality air at 50.

India’s weather office said rain was forecast over the next three days which could help clear the smog.

“Light rainfall is likely in states surrounding Delhi and in Delhi over the next three days, and this could result in a change in wind pattern in the region,” Charan Singh, a scientist at India Meteorological Department, told Reuters.

“Smog will start to abate starting tomorrow.”

But Skymet, India’s only private weather forecaster, said dense smog would continue over Delhi and the surrounding area for at least the next two days.

The Supreme Court is due to hear a petition filed by a New Delhi lawyer to direct government authorities to tackle the “intolerable and unbearable air pollution”.

The Delhi state government declared a public health emergency last week after pollution levels spiked, a yearly phenomenon blamed on a combination of illegal crop burning in northern states, vehicle exhaust and dust.

Over the weekend, authorities began using fire trucks to spray water in parts of the capital to keep the dust and other air particles down, but it has had little effect.

A senior federal government official said there was little more that could be done.

“We can only do this much, and now we will have to wait for rains to clean the atmosphere,” said Prashant Gargava, an official at the Central Pollution Control Board.

Gargava, who is in charge of monitoring air quality, said Delhi’s air has been consistently in the “hazardous” zone, despite measures such as a halt to construction and increasing car parking charges four-fold to encourage people to use public transport.

A man walks through smog near Delhi, India November 13, 2017.

A man walks through smog near Delhi, India November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton


The PM 2.5 airborne particles are about 30 times finer than a human hair. The particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing respiratory diseases and other ailments. Hospitals have seen a surge of patients coming in with respiratory complaints, according to media reports.

“Every second we are damaging our lungs, but we cannot stop breathing,” said Arvind Kumar, the head of the chest and lung surgery department at the Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

United Airlines said it had resumed flights from Newark, New Jersey, to New Delhi on Sunday, after suspending the service temporarily over concern about the bad air.

Authorities decided to reopen schools on Monday after closing them temporarily for a few days last week, but the decision is likely to add more vehicles on the road.

Enforcement agencies said they were unable to impose a blanket ban on the movement of commercial trucks.

Primary school teacher Aarti Menon said her family had been wearing face masks, even when indoors.

“Not everyone can afford an air purifier or air-conditioned car. We are all living in hell,” said Menon, a mother of two teenage daughters.

The National Green Tribunal, an environment court, has directed the city government and neighboring states to stop farmers from burning crop stubble. But the governments have not been able to do so.

New Delhi-based non-government group TARA Homes for Children, which supports 60 poor children, said it was seeking donations to buy at least five air purifiers.

“Some of the children have breathing issues and couldn’t go to school,” said a volunteer at the group.



(Additional reporting by Aditya Kalra, Sudarshan Varadhan, Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)


Flint water system improving, but still unstable

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder drinks some water as he testifies for Flint Michigan water hearing on Capitol in Washington

DETROIT (Reuters) – The drinking water in Flint, Michigan, where high lead levels led to a health crisis that drew national attention, is improving, but remains unstable, a top environmental official said Friday.

“The drinking water system is recovering,” Robert Kaplan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting administrator for the region that includes Flint, told local and state officials meeting in the city to discuss the crisis.

“You’ve got a dramatic decrease in the soluble lead. What we’re seeing though is particulate lead, which indicates that the system is unstable,” he told the meeting by phone.

Under the direction of a state-appointed emergency manager, Flint switched water supplies to the Flint River from Detroit’s system in 2014 to save money. The state has been criticized for its initial poor handling of the issue.

The corrosive river water leached lead, a toxic substance that can damage the nervous system, from the city’s water pipes. Flint switched back to the Detroit system last October.

“Whenever we see a positive trend in Flint’s water quality, that’s good news, but we still have much work to do to get people the quality of water they need and deserve,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement on Friday.

Kaplan said while the addition of chemical phosphates to recoat the pipes to inhibit corrosion is working, the almost invisible lead particles remain a random and unpredictable problem.

Kaplan said water filters reliably deal with the lead, but the best approach would be for residents to vigorously flush their home water systems by turning on all faucets and spigots and running the water to clean the sediment out and rebuild the protective phosphate coating.

He said local and state officials need to have a simple message for residents in the city of 100,000 people to take that approach.

“If we don’t have an extremely simple message, as in free water, you will not be charged for the water that you use that is related to this flushing, I’m afraid we’re not able to get that lead washed out of the system,” he said.

The state previously approved $30 million to help Flint residents pay their water bills dating back to when the switch to the Flint River was made.

Kaplan said a full recovery of Flint’s water system will take time, adding experts would not provide a time table at this point.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Alistair Bell)

EPA Releases 3 Million Gallons of Toxic Sludge into Southern Colorado River

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coming under fire after first releasing a toxic plume of contaminated mine water into the Animas River and then misleading the public about the size of the spill.

The EPA initially told the public last week the amount of toxic waste, which had turned the Animas River orange, was one million gallons.   The EPA admitted Sunday the spill was actually closer to three million gallons.

On Sunday, Shaun McGrath of the EPA told reporters in a teleconference that the mine is still spilling 500 gallons of toxic water a minute but that its being contained in four lakes near the site of the spill where it can be treated by EPA officials.

EPA tests showed the level of arsenic in the river topped out at 300 times the normal level and lead reached 3,500 times the normal level.  

“Yes, those numbers are high and they seem scary,” Deborah McKean, chief of the EPA Region 8 Toxicology and Human Health and Risk Assessment, told reporters. “But it’s not just a matter of toxicity of the chemicals, it’s a matter of exposure.

Residents who have water wells near the river have been told not to use their water until they can have it tested for the toxic chemicals.  The toxic sludge has been moving downriver into parts of the Navajo Nation indian reservation and into northwest New Mexico.

The EPA has been criticized by state officials in Colorado and New Mexico for failing to report the incident to them.  New Mexicos Governor, Susana Martinez, said that the New Mexico government only learned of the spill when local indian nation officials reported something was wrong with the river.

“It’s completely irresponsible for the EPA not to have informed New Mexico immediately,” she said after flying over the affected rivers.