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According to a new report released by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the chemical plume from the February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, spread air pollutants to at least 16 states.

The cloud, resulting from a controlled burn of spilled chemicals, extended northward to New England and potentially southward to North Carolina. The researchers, who worked independently, said the plume’s overall radius covered more than 540,000 square miles.

East Palestine Explosion

Researchers also examined ground samples from January 31 to February 14, covering the period before and after the February 3 accident. They detected high chloride concentrations in states like Virginia, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, with exceptionally high levels near the New York-Canada border, an area downwind of the crash site. Although pollutants decreased in the weeks following the incident, precipitation in affected regions was less acidic than anticipated.

This comes as some residents continue to report rashes and other health-related issues. Despite these concerns, the EPA, the state of Ohio, and Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for the train derailment, maintain that studies show no risk to the local community.


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