The major pollutant from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment was vinyl chloride. It’s not as dangerous as it’s been portrayed—ask the National Fire Prevention Association.
Writes Josh Holm in Reason:
“Vinyl chloride, a chemical long used to make PVC plastics, is being portrayed as something more suitable for capital punishment than for a routine manufacturing process in a factory. Ohioans, like the rest of the country, are being bombarded by horrifying claims about its health risks, most of which have been just plain wrong.
“There is, in fact, strong evidence that vinyl chloride not only is not deadly but is, in fact, considerably less toxic than many common, everyday drugs and chemicals. Likewise, its cancer risks have also been wildly overstated. It is easy to call a chemical a carcinogen, but in the absence of context, dose, and length of exposure, this term means little.”
He cites evidence on chemical risk from the National Fire Prevention Association.
Image of Palestine, Ohio, accident taken by Thunderlips36 with Creative Commons license.