There are still so many questions surrounding the disastrous train derailment that carried hazardous chemicals in Ohio this month. Residents were temporarily evacuated so a controlled burn could take place. But according to one expert who did an independent analysis of the soil, air, and water, the government is telling a “lie.”
“It wasn’t a controlled burn. It was an uncontrolled burn,” independent environmental scientist and chemical spill expert Stephen Petty said. “In hazardous waste situations, they very carefully control the temperature and the amount of oxygen so they get complete combustion…so it’s not a controlled burn because a controlled burn would have to be like in a furnace or in your car or in some system where you control the fuel… the vinyl chloride and the amount of oxygen. So they didn’t do that.”
Petty made it clear that he took the samples of the air, water, and soil because it was important for an independent investigator to verify what government officials and representatives of Norfolk Southern are saying.
He also said that one of the ways to determine whether there’s been exposure is whether there’s an odor. Many residents reported noxious smells, which they said caused headaches and other problems like nausea, rashes, burning eyes, and more.
Thousands of fish and other wildlife also died in the days following the burn.
“My view is that it was a bad decision to release it and burn it,” Petty said. He also noted that all that’s been tested so far are VOCs, which is “not a specific chemical.”
“That doesn’t tell me anything other than you’re measuring carbon,” he said.
Those on the scene have also reported that the smell from the water was so bad that they had to walk away after 10 minutes because their throats were burning.
Petty has been an expert witness in many top environmental class action lawsuits in the U.S. He argued the government is measuring “things that don’t really matter.”
“What I want to know is vinyl chloride. What is the individual component? So, they purposefully measure with a cheaper instrument total hydrocarbons, but I want to know what the components are.”
Petty believes the public can handle negative news and they just want to know the truth.