After a train transporting hazardous chemicals derailed and burst into flames on Feb. 3 near East Palestine, Ohio, TikTokers living near the accident are sharing what they believe to be physical symptoms of the newly created pollution.
In a TikTok posted on Thursday, Delia (@yung.deli) says that they live 50 miles from where the train derailed in East Palestine and have a headache.
“When you have a headache & you’re not sure if it’s the seasonal allergies or the toxins from the train crash that happened 50 miles away from your house,” Delia wrote in their video’s overlay text.
@yung.deli ya never know! 🤪 #eastpalestineohio #eastpalestinetraincrash #traincrashinohio ♬ CHAOS – Hollywood Undead
Commenters on Delia’s video, many of whom identified themselves as Ohio residents, said they’ve experienced the same thing.
“My throat is so sore,” @coldspritecranberry commented. “My head feels full of pressure.”
“Me rn with a headache that’s lasted 3 days,” @ieattrash29 wrote. “And nausea that’s coming in waves.”
“I’m about 5 miles [away from the train derailment] and we are STRUGGLING down here,” @itspronounceduhleesuh commented.
Another TikTok from @tiaamariaa57 posted on Wednesday reports similar side effects. In her video, @tiaamariaa57 says that the air “smells like sulfur and alcohol” where she and her family live, approximately 40 minutes from East Palestine.
She also shared that her family members who live even closer to the site of the derailment have been experiencing migraines and vomiting.
@tiaamariaa57 #fyp #foryou #traindereailment #foryou #eastpalestine #eastpalestineohio #government #fthegovernment ♬ Spooky, quiet, scary atmosphere piano songs – Skittlegirl Sound
The conditions discussed in Delia and @tiaamariaa57’s videos are consistent with what some East Palestine residents told CNN they’re feeling, too.
This is because East Palestine and surrounding communities were exposed to “very high levels” of chemicals like vinyl chloride and its byproducts, or the chemicals that are released when vinyl chloride is burned, according to University of Kentucky professor and environmental epidemiologist Erin Haynes.
Haynes told the Daily Dot that 18 days after the train’s derailment, the air is most likely no longer contaminated—but the area’s water and soil are.
“Many of the chemicals would have fallen out to the environment, like the soil and the waterways,” Haynes told the Daily Dot in a phone interview. And those chemicals can remain there for a long time. “So the health impacts that [Ohioans are] experiencing, could very well be attributed to those initial exposures.”
Farmers in East Palestine have already been raising alarms about the soil and well water quality.
Haynes stressed the importance of long-term monitoring of the soil and water in and around East Palestine.
“I would recommend that any surrounding county of Columbiana [county in Ohio] be monitored,” Haynes said. “Chemicals travel, and it’s important to know the entire scope of the exposure.”