Neighbors along East Palestine train tracks near derailment worried about their health

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 8:04 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 11:59 AM EST
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - Some of the neighbors who live along the train tracks in East Palestine still have not returned to their homes because of health concerns.

Maureen Shields’ home is about a quarter of a mile down away from where a train carrying hazardous materials derailed. She is concerned about breathing in the chemicals and drinking the water.

“No one has ever lived through this before. We have no instructions or what is safe and what isn’t safe and I’m just not content to believe that if I just go home and wipe down my home and let my kids come back that there won’t be some terrible outcome down the road,” Shields said. “I’ll have only myself to blame for having told my own children what I was told and that is that we’re safe. We’re not.”

She attended a townhall lead by attorneys Wednesday afternoon. She said she has been having headaches, a burning sensation in her sinuses, and drowsiness.

“Most people who are going to our local doctors, not anything against them, but none of us have ever dealt with anything like this,” Shields said. “Most of these local practitioners don’t know what to test for.”

Shields said residents have yet to get answers on how this derailment will impact their long-term health.

“We have yet to have any answers. The railroad and the press conference that happened where we could go home, it was like six minutes after that the first train rolled through,” Shields said. “I mean you’re ‘safe’ to go home, but my house still stinks.”