April 2, 2024  

Letter from East Palestine Residents Explains Imminent Threat to Safety 


EAST PALESTINE – Over the weekend, an open letter was delivered to media, scientists, environmental groups, and federal and state lawmakers by the Unity Council for the East Palestine Train Derailment. Dr. Erin Haynes, a Professor of Preventative Medicine and Environmental Health and Environmental Scientist at the University of Kentucky, did a study that collected indoor air monitoring of the homes in East Palestine. Residents recently learned the devices found high readings for toxic chemicals. Hayne’s results echo and reaffirm the concerns of multiple residents in the area as well as test results from Government Accountability Project whistleblower client, Scott Smith. 

With homes and families being surrounded by toxic chemicals and fumes, residents continue to suffer a litany of health issues and worry about the long-term health effects of exposure.  The EPA has continuously refused to acknowledge or publicly discuss declaring a public health emergency even though.  

Our Environmental Investigator, Lesley Pacey, commented: 

“Lifelong East Palestine resident and mother of five boys, Candice DeSanzo, is one of the residents who has been begging the EPA and Norfolk Southern contractors to test her home for chemicals. Since the derailment and open burn of train cars, her children have suffered with rashes and other ailments.  But EPA and CTEH refused to test the indoor air in her home. Now, DeSanzo finally has learned that an air badge placed in her home in September by Dr. Erin Haynes from the University of Kentucky detected higher than expected levels of BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylene) with xylene measuring above the EPA’s Reference Concentration (RfC), the level at which long term exposure to the chemical could result in negative health impacts. For over a year, residents of East Palestine have been exposed to dioxins as well as other dangerous chemical mixtures. Residents must be given the means to relocate  from the hazards, which can only happen through a disaster declaration in East Palestine and neighboring communities.”