A Personal Injury’s Perspective on East Palestine, Ohio. 

The environmental disaster currently unfolding in East Palestine, Ohio is one the United States has unfortunately already been faced with many times before. Companies or government entities like Camp Lejeune, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and Flint Michigan are several examples of those who polluted the air and water in residential areas and attempted to avoid liability for years.

While you would think the government or other companies would learn from previous environmental disasters, these cases have various overlapping situations:

  1. In all of these cases there was some sort of inciting incident that the guilty party could have easily avoided, whether it taking specific safety measures to prevent spillage of harmful substances, or taking proper precautions when disposing of harmful substances. 
  2. Vinyl Chloride, an odorless chemical used in creating PVCl, was one of the chemicals recently spilled in the East Palestine, Ohio railroad accident. Ironically, this is also the same chemical negligently disposed of into the water at Camp Lejeune – over 80 years ago.The compound of Vinyl Chloride has been found to cause various forms of cancer in those who have ingested and had significant unprotected contact with the chemical.  In a majority of the Camp Lejeune cases, those exposed suffered from a range of debilitating cancers and illnesses as a result of the harmful chemical. Personal injury estimates such as; medical bills, pain, and suffering in the case of Camp Lejeune are estimated in the millions in reparations for each person impacted.
  3. There are also many scenarios where the government or companies claimed that the water or air had been tested and was safe for living or consumption despite this being false. In the Flint, Michigan disaster, for years, government officials claimed the drinking water was safe, free from lead and other toxins. The government performed inadequate testing and treatment of the water along with these claims, which led to health issues in children who drank the unsafe water and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia like illness. Similarly the PG&E disaster in Hinkley, CA involved a contaminated water supply caused by improper disposal of wastewater containing the rust preventative, chromium.  PG&E initially down played the levels of chromium in the groundwater, but after increases in cancer and ulcers within the desert area EPA got involved. The many investigations of the Hinkley, CA water supply following adverse effects and complaints from residents instituted the creation of CalEPA.

This is a very unfortunate situation, but there are steps that those in East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding areas can do in response to inflict change.  First and foremost, if you are an East Palestine resident, it’s time to join forces with your community and band together creating events that make the larger government prioritize the situation. Second, contact a personal injury lawyer who will help you hire an independent company outside of Ohio to conduct their own testing of the water, air, and soil as well as get you the reparations for the negligence of the company and the government. Lastly, if you have friends or family outside of East Palestine, Ohio – ask if they would be willing to invite you into their homes until more independent testing has been done and it is safe to return.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by an Environmental or Toxic Chemical exposure, please do not wait and reach out to us today. No one should have to live in fear that the water they drink or air they breathe has been contaminated and unsafe. Call us at (888) 348-2735 or email us here and we would be happy to have a  free consultation regarding your situation.