Norfolk Southern Railroad Needs to Clean Up Its Mess

Maximillian Alvarez

It’s been over 100 days since the catastrophic derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying over 100,000 gallons of toxic materials occurred in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb 3.

Since then, residents of East Palestine and the surrounding area in Ohio and Pennsylvania have had their lives turned completely upside down.

Entire families have been uprooted from their homes, with many having to live in hotels or wherever they can find shelter, unable to return home out of fear of exposure to chemicals that were spilled into the water and soil from the derailment and spewed into the air from Norfolk Southern’s “controlled burn” of the vinyl chloride contained within multiple derailed train cars.

Even though government and company officials have claimed the air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink, residents have continuously reported negative health effects from skin rashes, headaches, and dizzy spells to nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and mouth numbness. Farm animals, pets, and crops have been contaminated, property values have plummeted, local businesses have shuttered or are barely surviving.

All the while, frustrated residents report feeling lied to, misled, disregarded, and abandoned by Norfolk Southern and by their state and federal governments, and their ongoing nightmare has been gradually forgotten by the national media.

In this urgent episode, we speak with Ashley McCollum, Kayla Miller, and Christina Siceloff — three residents of East Palestine and the surrounding area in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and members of the East Palestine Unity Council. We discuss what they, their families, and their communities are going through, how they are banding together to provide mutual aid for one another, and what we can all do to help.

This blog originally appeared at In These Times on May 30, 2023 along with a podcast and transcript that are available at the same post.

About the Author: Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at

Visit Workplace Fairness pages on workplace injuries, health, and safety to learn more.

The post Norfolk Southern Railroad Needs to Clean Up Its Mess first appeared on Today’s Workplace.

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