EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — As the cleanup continues from the Feb. 3 train derailment, local healthcare workers are seeing more and more people from the East Palestine area complaining that they don’t feel well.
Workers with QUICKmed Urgent Care in Columbiana said they’re seeing patients sharing similar symptoms, including a burning sensation when they breathe, as well as rashes and general weakness.
Some even complain they start feeling better when they leave their homes for a while, only to feel worse once they return.
“This could be a lot of things, but if you’re leaving your house and [symptoms] improve, and you go back and it comes back, I’m not thinking that’s allergies or not thinking it’s a cold,” said Deb Weese with QUICKmed. “I think it’s related to that stuff you’re inhaling there.”
Weese says the burning sensation when breathing could be what she calls a form of chemical bronchitis. She urges anyone suffering similar symptoms to seek treatment.
“Let’s face it: If it comes down to it, it might be something in the future that comes about from all these chemicals they’re breathing in that we don’t know about, so it’s important that they document all of their symptoms,” Weese said.
On Monday, U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance released a joint statement regarding long-term health monitoring for East Palestine residents. They sent a letter to leads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging them to ensure that individuals affected by the derailment have access to baseline medical testing.
“We have spoken with multiple constituents who have attempted to get this kind of baseline testing done by their primary care doctors, only to learn that their local doctors lack the capabilities … The residents of East Palestine and the surrounding community deserve to know if their health has been compromised by this disaster now and for years to come. Therefore, we urge you to work with your colleagues across the federal government to allocate the resources and expertise needed to begin the surveys and assessment needed to establish a medical baseline for the community.”Letter from Brown and Vance
The full letter can be found below.
On Monday, Brown spoke with East Palestine residents about their health concerns.