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Ohio Department of Health: Headaches, anxiety top symptoms reported by East Palestine residents after derailment

Residents are also reporting symptoms of coughing, fatigue, and irritation/burning of skin.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Four weeks after the Norfolk Southern toxic train derailment in East Palestine, residents are still dealing with a range of health concerns.

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Health released the results of surveys conducted at its East Palestine Health Assessment Clinic, plus door-to-door visits by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

A total of 168 After Chemical Exposure (ACE) community surveys were completed, with the following symptoms reported most:

  • Headache - 125 reporting (74% of total respondents)
  • Anxiety - 108 reporting (64% of total respondents)
  • Coughing - 103 reporting (61% of total respondents)
  • Fatigue/tiredness - 97 reporting (58% of total respondents)
  • Irritation, pain, or burning of skin - 88 reporting (52% of total respondents)

The median age of respondents is 57 and most participants are over the age of 18 (94%).

Here are other Friday highlights from the train derailment cleanup reported by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's office:

--Railroad tracks and ties are being removed from the derailment site as workers prepare to excavate the soil underneath. A total of 1,900 feet of rail will be pulled up on both sets of tracks. DeWine's office says the plan from Norfolk Southern, agreed on by state and federal authorities, calls for the entire removal of tracks, excavation of soil, and reconstruction of the rails to be completed by April 30.

--The Ohio EPA reports that 3.2 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine, as has 1,700 tons of solid waste. The majority of the liquid wastewater (1.9 million gallons), has been shipped to Texas Molecular to be disposed of through deep well injection. 

--So far, 157 private well systems have been sampled. Of those, test results from 57 samples have been verified, and none have shown any harmful contaminant levels associated with the derailment.

--The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and state agricultural experts will meet with East Palestine area farmers next week to address concerns about the upcoming planting season. While the ODA says there is no reason to believe that crops planted in the soil in East Palestine are not safe, Norfolk Southern is developing a soil sampling plan for residential and agricultural areas. Once finalized, the plan must be approved by the U.S. EPA. 

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