CDC Research Team Members Fell Ill Studying Toxic Ohio Derailment, Agency Confirms

 Authored by Samantha Flom via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Nearly half of a government team investigating the potential health effects of a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, fell ill while conducting their research, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a March 31 statement provided to The Epoch Times, CDC spokesperson Belsie Gonzalez advised that the illnesses occurred on March 6, when seven members of a 15-person team of CDC and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) staff reported symptoms such as sore throat, headache, coughing, and nausea.

Their symptoms, Gonzalez noted, were consistent with those reported by some East Palestine residents and first responders, whom the team was surveying to assess the potential health effects of their exposure to the chemicals released by the Feb. 3 derailment.

A resident displays a mannequin on their porch in East Palestine, Ohio, as cleanup from the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment continues, on Feb. 24, 2023. (Matt Freed/AP Photo)

Sore Throats, Headaches, Nausea

“Following protocol, team members reported the symptoms to federal safety officers,” she said.

“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.”

Gonzalez added that the survey collection process, which started mid-February, will end on March 31.

“Once completed, CDC/ATSDR staff will analyze the data and provide it to state health officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania,” she said. “FEMA and EPA teams remain on the ground to support response efforts.”

News of the government employees’ illnesses followed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) filing of a lawsuit on March 31 against Norfolk Southern, seeking to hold the railroad company accountable for “unlawfully polluting the nation’s waterways” through the toxic derailment.

“When a Norfolk Southern train derailed last month in East Palestine, Ohio, it released toxins into the air, soil, and water, endangering the health and safety of people in surrounding communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

‘Pursuing Justice’

“With this complaint, the Justice Department and the EPA are acting to pursue justice for the residents of East Palestine and ensure that Norfolk Southern carries the financial burden for the harm it has caused and continues to inflict on the community.”

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