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VNRC signs letter to EPA – vinyl chloride train derailment in E. Palestine, OH

The Vermont Natural Resources Council signed onto a joint letter to the EPA, in response to the recent vinyl chloride train derailment in E. Palestine, OH. This letter to EPA leadership urges the agency to conduct comprehensive testing and sampling of dioxins, other chlorinated ring compounds, and other hazardous byproducts that may have been released by the burning of the railcars containing vinyl chloride. This letter has been developed in collaboration with and at the request of key groups in OH and PA responding to the derailment such as River Valley Organizing.

Groups and impacted communities on the ground and allies around the country are very concerned that, to date, the EPA has not conducted any dioxin testing, extremely persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals that break down very slowly, build up in the food chain, and can cause cancer and other serious health problems.

In the EPA’s own words, “dioxins are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and can interfere with hormones.” Indeed, dioxins are one of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind and have been targeted for global phase-out under the POPS Treaty. It was the primary contaminant in the defoliant used in Agent Orange in Vietnam and a key contaminant at both Love Canal and Times Beach.

To date, EPA has not yet conducted any sampling for dioxins. This is outrageous. Read the full letter below.

Unfortunately, this incident is an example of the tremendous harm that our inadequate toxic chemical laws are doing. We need to ensure that laws regulating the use and transportation of toxic chemicals are strengthened throughout the country and in Vermont. Click here to read more about VNRC’s work to create a toxics-free environment.