NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday night in New Waterford, members of the community and surrounding area sat in on a town hall. The topic: the Norfolk Southern train derailment.
According to organizers, the train company was originally supposed to be at the meeting but they were a no-show.
WKBN spoke to two women who say they have positive tests for vinyl chloride exposure.
Shelby Walker, of East Palestine, says the Norfolk Southern tracks are practically in her backyard.
“I am approximately 900 feet from the burn site,” she said.
She has been staying off and on in a hotel since the derailment because she is afraid for her health. Walker showed us some of her toxicity test results.
“It came back as vinyl chloride,” she said. “It’s not in my blood, it’s been in my urine tests.”
Walker says her entire family has been experiencing symptoms. Eleven people lived in her home prior to the derailment, including her grandchildren.
“I’m now on an inhaler that I’ve never had to before. My voice gets raspy on and off. We get headaches,” Walker said.
Linda Murphy, of East Palestine, says she got a call from her doctor’s office while she was pulling into the parking lot for the meeting, telling her she has also tested positive for vinyl chloride.
“My urine tested positive for vinyl chloride, which was a shock because they say it goes right out of your system,” Murphy said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes the body about a day to metabolize vinyl chloride.
Murphy lives almost three miles from the derailment site and says she had her test done two weeks ago.
“I evacuated during the release and I don’t work anywhere near it. I only go into town occasionally for meetings. It doesn’t make sense. How could the exposure be there when they tell us it’s not in the air, we’re not exposed to it and it immediately goes out of your system?” Murphy said.
Hazmat officials have maintained the air in East Palestine is safe to breathe since Feb. 7, the day after the controlled release.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a public health statement on vinyl chloride, which can be found here.