Two major railroad accidents occurred in the United States at Christmastime, resulting in multiple car derailments and the release of hazardous chemicals. A primary issue associated with train derailments is hazardous chemical spills that can not only harm the environment but present a very real risk to the health and welfare of rail crews and members of the general public.
The first of the massive railroad derailments occurred in Iowa during the Christmas holiday and involved train heading into the state capital city of Des Moines. The Iowa railroad accident resulted in a huge derailment of 108 cars and three locomotives. Some of the cars were carrying lumber and soybean meal, which presented no health risk to the rail crew of the public. On the other hand, the derailed train included tanker cars carrying dangerous liquid petroleum gas and octane, both of which present an environmental and health risk.
The bulk of the escaping hazardous materials from the Iowa railroad accident was the octane. Octane is a gasoline additive and is highly hazardous. Not only is octane highly flammable, it can cause respiratory and other health issues. There is evidence that exposure to octane has the propensity to cause more long-term health issues.
People can be exposed to octane in the direct aftermath of an incident like the Iowa railroad accident. They can also be exposed if octane contaminates waterways and soil.
In the aftermath of the Christmas time railroad accident in Iowa, hazmat teams were working to contain octane contamination. On an emergency basis, hazmat specialists worked as quickly as possible to contain the spread of octane from damaged tanker cars. The process also includes safely emptying all of the other tanker cars of octane.
Investigators have yet to pinpoint the cause of the 108-car derailment Iowa railroad accident.
Federal, state, and local officials are involved in the investigatory process.
During the same time period as the Iowa train accident, another railroad incident occurred in Washington state. Ironically, the Washington railroad accident also involved a train with 108 cars. The actual derailment was not as significant but presented health concerns. Seven cars derailed in the Washington railroad accident, all of them tanker cars. The tanker cars were carrying crude oil.
At least three tanker cars ruptured in the Washington railroad accident. Crude oil from these tanker cars streamed onto the ground.
Crude oil that contaminates soil and waterways not only has a significant environmental impact but presents a profound health hazard. The health hazard presented by waterways and soil contaminated by crude oil can persist for what can prove to be a significant period of time. This type of contamination has been known to cause cancer and other serious illnesses in some cases.
At the present time, investigators and other experts from the Washington Department of Ecology, or DOE, have reported that they do not think waterway contamination has occurred as a result of the train accident and tanker leaks. The DOE reports that every effort is being made to remove the crude oil from the undamaged tankers and to contain the spillage from the train cars that ruptured during the derailment.
If you or a loved one have suffered immediate physical injuries as result of a railroad accident, an experienced attorney from The Doan Law Firm is available at (800) 349-0000 to answer any questions you may have. The same holds true if you’re concerned about exposure to hazardous chemicals as a result of a railroad accident. Health issues and injuries caused by certain types of railroad accidents may not appear for some time following an incident.
You can schedule a no-cost and no-obligation consultation and case evaluation with a Doan Law Firm railroad accident lawyer any time that is convenient for you. A nationwide law firm, we’ve 40 offices located across the country in the United States. We can also arrange a virtual consultation online as well.
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