Nearly half of fed investigators at East Palestine train derailment briefly fell ill: CDC

The CDC says the ailments were not publicized because their symptoms improved shortly after leaving the area.

Published: April 3, 2023 8:02am

Seven of the 15 government investigators who studied the possible health effects of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment briefly fell ill while at the site, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The investigators, who were part of a team from the agency's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, experienced sore throats, coughing, nausea and headaches in early March, CNN reported Friday.

The symptoms are consistent with those that some East Palestine residents reported after the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment that sent toxic chemicals into the soil and air.

The Toxic Substances team conducted door-to-door surveys in an area near the incident site in eastern Ohio, often working 18-hour days as they asked residents about their experiences after the derailment.

"Symptoms resolved for most team members later the same afternoon, and everyone resumed work on survey data collection within 24 hours. Impacted team members have not reported ongoing health effects," a CDC spokesperson told the outlet.

The investigators' symptoms improved shortly after leaving the area, which is why the ailments were publicized, the CDC official also said.

The Justice Department last week filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the derailment. The government alleged that the company "unlawfully polluting the nation's waterways and to ensure it pays the full cost of the environmental cleanup." 

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