Railroad Car Linked to Ohio CSX Spill Had Known Problems

Information discovered following a train derailment last week in Ohio, which spilled a flammable chemical and caused hundreds to be evacuated, suggests that the railroad car involved in the incident was known to be unsafe and may have had design flaws that posed a risk of such catastrophes.

The CSX train derailed in Willard, Ohio early last Wednesday morning, causing a chemical spill that required an immediate evacuation of about 400 residents from their homes.

One of the rail cars involved in the accident, known as a DOT-111 was carrying 30,000 gallons of styrene monomer, which is a chemical used in manufacturing plastic and rubber that can be highly explosive and is known to cause respiratory damage, headaches, dizziness, trouble concentrating, and an intoxicated feeling.

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The city spokesperson for Willard, Ohio announced on Thursday that CSX conducted air testing and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed there were only small traces of the chemical lingering in the air, far below levels of concern. Therefore, some residents were able to return to their homes on Thursday, but others closer to the spill zone were not allowed to return until Friday.

Substantial concerns continue among area residents about the potential health risks associated with exposure to the chemical, and new information now being reported suggests that the incident may have been preventable.

According to an investigation by NBC News, the DOT-111 railroad tank cars involved in the accident have been challenged at least five times since 1991 for being unsafe for carrying hazardous material due to their design flaws and vulnerability if the train. The National Transportation Safety Board has claimed the metal containers are too thin to carry chemicals because the walls may break too easily in the event of a crash.

Use of the rail cars have persisted, some say because government regulators allow the industry to make voluntary safety upgrades if deemed necessary.

With domestic oil and ethanol production rising rapidly since 1993, there are significantly more carloads of crude oil and ethanol being transported around the United States railways in DOT-111 cars increasing the chance of chemical spills during derailments.

This is CSX’s second derailment in nearly six months when a CSX freight train derailed in Baltimore, Maryland in May leading to an explosion that required many residents to be evacuated and caused damage to nearby buildings.

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2 Comments

  • MollyFebruary 12, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Had 3 toddlers husband and I was pregnant. I puked constantly. Husband didn't have sleep apmiea machine and missed work and didn't feel safe and moved

  • MollyFebruary 12, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I and my family lived at 620 pleasant street close to the train derailment. I had 3 little kids and husband and I was pregnant. I have glycemia problems and pass out if i didn't have a fruit or protein every 2 to 3 hours. We were evacuated and sat at the willard high school with 3 little toddlers for hours. Hours later I asked someone if we could get a hotel or something and they sent us to a hot[Show More]I and my family lived at 620 pleasant street close to the train derailment. I had 3 little kids and husband and I was pregnant. I have glycemia problems and pass out if i didn't have a fruit or protein every 2 to 3 hours. We were evacuated and sat at the willard high school with 3 little toddlers for hours. Hours later I asked someone if we could get a hotel or something and they sent us to a hotel in tiffin. Husband has sleep apmiea and had to sleep in a hotel with out a machine for like a week. I got very sick throwing up almost non stop for 2 days dizzy light headed threw up blood. I asked a worker to get a hold of epa people to see if i would be safe because i was pregnant and spill was close to my house and I was so sick. I couldn't follow my appropriate diet because all of my groceries were at the house. I was really sick and puked alot. I didn't have appropriate nutrition while pregnant with my medical condition. Kids wouldn't sleep because they all 3 had to share the same bed. I missed several days of work . We after being able to go back moved because didn't feel safe after it happening. We rented a u haul broke our lease lost our metro and moved to a house.

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