Emergency responders diverted vinyl chloride — a cancer-causing chemical — from the train into a trench and burned it off.
Residents who were urged to evacuate last week have since returned. However, vinyl chloride is hazardous substance on the loose.
EPA investigators said they found other hazardous material-containing cars “derailed, breached and/or on fire.”
They also found industrial solvents ethylene glycol monobutyl ether — which can be absorbed through the skin and harms the liver and kidneys — and ethylhexyl acrylate, another known carcinogen that harms the lungs and nervous system.
The EPA has warned that these chemicals are still being released “to the air, surface soils, and surface waters.”
Sulphur Run, the creek that runs through East Palestine, connects through other waterways to the Ohio River.
Last week, officials in Weirton, W.Va., detected butyl acrylate — another chemical listed among the burning cars — though they aren’t sure if it came from the spill upriver, according to local media.
Further downstream in Cincinnati, officials were monitoring water intakes to see if the chemicals make it to them.
The incident is leading to some calls for more oversight of the railroad industry. It’s also resurfacing tensions over railroad worker rights.
Our colleague Saul Elbein has more on the derailment in his full report at TheHill.com.