(WKBN) – After the East Palestine train derailment evacuated thousands of people from their homes due to chemical exposures, many are wondering how to decontaminate their homes as they return.
This report includes some tips on how to clean and detox rooms in your home if you feel they may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals.
These tips do not replace the work of professional companies whose job it is to test, screen and decontaminate toxic chemical exposure. However, this may provide an added layer of sanitation and disinfecting.
There are several steps you can take to ensure your kitchen is clean and free of toxins.
One step is to use the exhaust hood over your stove. An exhaust hood that is vented to the outside of your home can help remove particulates and gases from your home, according to prevention.com.
If you are worried about using the faucet water due to possible water contamination, you can use a water filter. Water filters help remove bacteria and many contaminants. Not all water filters remove chemical compounds, so it’s important to do your research so you get the right kind. The Centers for Disease Control provides more information on water filters and their functions.
You can also get your water tested. Prevention.com says that “local water utilities are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to test their systems for over 90 contaminants,” which includes vinyl Chloride.
You can find out more about how to get your water tested here.
Living room / Main rooms
Removing your shoes before walking through your living room and other rooms in your home can help prevent tracking in bacteria and particles that may have been exposed to the chemical release from the train derailment.
Cleaning your carpets can help get rid of dust and other pollutants. Toxic gases in the air can stick to small particles that settle into carpets. Cleaning your carpets can help remove those particles. Using a HEPA filter can be even more effective. A HEPA filter is highly effective in removing and trapping a large number of very small particles that regular vacuums would recirculate back into the air.
You can also use the HEPA filter, or regular vacuum, on your furniture.
Adding air-purifying plants, such as a snake plant, spider plant or Chinese Evergreens, can help battle toxins in the air. Chrysanthemum is known to help filter out toxins such as benzene, which is one of the chemicals being carried on the train that derailed.
If you feel your clothing, bed sheets and blankets may have been exposed to toxic chemicals, you may want to decontaminate those items.
According to Osha.gov, “Dusts and vapors that cling to equipment and workers or become trapped in small openings, such as the weave of the clothing fabrics, can be removed with water or a liquid rinse.”
The website also says, “There is no reliable test to immediately determine how effective decontamination is. In some cases, effectiveness can be estimated by visual observation.”
This would include looking for discolorations, stains, corrosive effects, visible dirt, or alterations in clothing fabric. However, some chemical effects cannot be seen using natural light and an ultraviolet light can be used to observe contamination of skin, clothing, and equipment.
Turning on the bathroom fan can help filter out the air. Wiping down the walls, showers and floors can help remove any chemical-exposed particles that may have settled.
Washing or replacing your shower curtains can also help decontaminate the fabric.