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  • Writer's pictureGood Stewards Network

Evangelicals Speak Out Against Environmental Risks after Ohio Train Derailment

As Evangelicals, we want our children to have happy, healthy lives. In order to do so, it is crucial for them to have access to clean air and water. A recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio is posing risks to the health of American children and community, as well compromising the cleanliness of our air and water.


In February 2023, a Norfolk train derailed and spilled more than 100,000 gallons of dangerous chemicals into the air and water. The chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate, may infiltrate the town’s groundwater, contaminating the aquifers and water supply for many years or even decades, despite intensive cleaning efforts. Exposure to vinyl chloride has been frequently associated with a heightened risk of liver cancer and can still pose a significant threat to one’s health, even in small doses.

The release of toxic pollutants could negatively impact Americans’ health. If not appropriately addressed and remediated, the consequences of these pollutants could be severe for Americans of all ages. These chemicals can exacerbate existing health conditions and afflict healthy individuals, potentially even leading to the transfer of illness to their children.

Higher Risk to Children

Children inhale a greater volume of air in proportion to their body size and breathe more rapidly than adults, making them especially susceptible to airborne toxins. Without easy access to clean air and water, children face an elevated risk of experiencing eye and lung irritation, headaches, and even cancer.

What Christians Can Do

As Christians, our hearts go out to the families affected and our prayers are with them as they face the unknown.

We believe in the importance of creation care and the need for Americans to take care of the environment God has entrusted us with.

As we all attempt to do our part to reduce demand for plastic products, we’re joining other Christians at the Evangelical Environmental Network calling on the Biden Administration to ensure that common sense safety regulations – like the use of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes in all new and existing trains – are put in place that will reduce the risk of further health impacts due to train derailment in the future.


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