EAST PALESTINE — People in East Palestine and in neighboring communities are worried about their health as cleanup continues at the site of the train derailment and controlled chemical burn.
People are opening up about various symptoms they can’t explain and what they fear the most.
Therese Vigliotti said she hasn’t felt right since the controlled release and burn after train cars derailed more than a week ago.
She sent us a picture of her tongue.
“I noticed my lips were numb, the soft palate of my mouth was numb, my tongue was burning and my throat was burning,” Vigliotti said.
We asked what her biggest concern was.
"That I'm going to get cancer and die,” Vigliotti said.
Vigliotti doesn’t live in East Palestine but rather 15 miles north of the derailment site in Poland, Ohio.
Jim does call the village home.
You can hear train horns from his front porch.
“It used to not bother me hearing, now it does,” Jim said.
He too is worried about what he is experiencing.
“I've had a migraine. I've been dizzy, all my mucus membranes irritated. I haven't felt very well since then,” Jim said.
What also bothers him, he said, is lack of good information about the long-term impact from the hazardous chemicals on board the cars that left the tracks.
"My wife previously had cancer. I'm concerned about any of the carcinogens, the pollutants in the water and the air and the land now,” Jim said.
Questions about health concerns came up during Governor DeWine’s news conference today in Columbus.
The Ohio Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, responded.
“Unfortunately, volatile organic compounds share with a host of other things the ability to cause very common symptoms at the lower level. So headache, eye irritation, nose irritation, etc.. I think that we have to look at the measured facts. And the measured facts include the fact that the air sampling in that area really is not pointing toward an air source for this,” Vanderhoff said.
There is round the clock air monitoring in East Palestine. The U.S. EPA said it’s helped screen more than 400 homes with no detection of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride. It’s also helping the Ohio EPA determine the impact the spill had on surface and groundwater.
"They're still pumping the water out of the creek and the stench is still there,” Garry Allison said.
Allison is a landlord for a small apartment building on East Rebecca in the village.
"The stench is so bad behind the apartments that all the tenants moved out,” Allison said.
He says he’s losing money and wants answers about his property cleanup. But also feels he’s getting the runaround.
“I don't want anything that's not mine but I shouldn't have to take a loss for their mistake,” Allison said.
"If it wasn't for you guys we wouldn't know the truth,” Allison said.
Vigliotti is putting her health first.
She has a doctor’s appointment later this week and blood work she hopes will give some comfort.
"I'm a mom. I have wonderful kids and I'm perfectly healthy. There's nothing wrong with me, something came into me. My tongue should not be feeling this way,” Vigliotti said.
News 5 Investigators reached out to some hospitals near East Palestine. Salem Regional Medical told us a total of five people came to the ER so far with self reported symptoms like respiratory issues.
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