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Virtual symposium
East Palestine 6 months after

Photo credit to Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Photo credit to Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

6 Months After the Train Derailment: What's it like to live in the impacted area? What do we know? What remains unknown? And how do we prevent future disasters like this? 

                                                         August 3, 2023 12pm-5pm EDT 

 Thanks to all who joined us for this symposium, if you missed out feel free to check out the following resources and recordings. We’ve gathered relevant resources and action opportunities at the links below. 

Event Takeaways & Quotes from Panelists — 

Event Coverage: East Palestine 6 months later: Health issues persists and answers are elusive (Environmental Health News) 

Resources & Calls to Action 

Chemical Exposures Following the East Palestine Train Derailment: Potential Health Effects & Ways to Protect your Health

This virtual symposium examined how life has changed for the people of East Palestine and nearby communities six months following the catastrophic train derailment; reviewed the available science, what we still don’t know, and what is needed to bridge the gap; examined policy options to prevent future disasters, ensure that polluters are held responsible, and protect communities and workers; and develop plans for coordinated action. 


 Welcome and introductory remarks
 Panel 1 Voices from East Palestine: Residents talk about the immediate aftermath of the derailment and how their lives have changed.

            Misti Allison | East Palestine Resident  

            Hilary Flint | Vice President of East Palestine Unity Council 

            Zsuzsa Gyenes | Lead, Community Engagement of East Palestine Unity Council 

           Amanda Kemmer | Volunteer of East Palestine Unity Council 

           Moderated by Audrey Tran Lam | Center for Energy & Environmental Education at University of Northern Iowa 

 Panel 2 Researchers Panel: What do we know? What do we need to know? 

            Erin N Haynes, DrPH, MS | Professor and Chair, Epidemiology and Environmental Health  at the College of Public Health, University of Kentucky 

            Molly Jacobs | Director of Applied Research at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell 

            Dr. Andrew Whelton | Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Ecological Engineering at Purdue University                                                                  

           Moderated by Dr. Ted Schettler | Science Director at Science and Environmental Health Network 

 Panel 3 Policy Panel: How do we prevent similar events in the future? How do we increase accountability and transparency?  

            Jacquelyn Omotalade | Climate Investments National Director for Dream.Org   

            Glenn Olcerst | Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh (RPS)’s General Counsel 

            Senator Katie Muth | PA District 44 

            Moderated by Saleem Chapman | Policy + Legal Engagement Manager for Cancer Free Economy Network 

Breakouts Discussions: Policy advocacy, science advocacy, connecting impacted communities and workers



Ashleigh Angel, Cancer Free Economy Network

Debra Erenberg, Cancer Free Economy Network

Andre Green, Cancer & Environment Network of Southwest Pennsylvania

Hilary Flint, Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community

Zsuzsa Gyenes, East Palestine Unity Council

Vanessa Lynch, Moms Clean Air Force

Rachel Massey, Collaborative for Health & Environment

Rachel Meyer, Moms Clean Air Force

Jamie San Andres, Cancer Free Economy Network

Audrey Tran Lam, Cancer Free Economy Network/University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy & Environmental Education

Makenzie White, Cancer Free Economy Network

Kayla Williams, Cancer Free Economy Network/Clean Production Action


                                                                                                     PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS 

Statements from CFE and CFE Members 

Cancer Free Economy Network, East Palestine Disaster Highlights Danger of our Toxic Economy 

River Valley Organizing, Community Demands for Norfolk Southern, Federal Government

Breast Cancer Action, The Latest Train Derailment, Chevron, the EPA — and Breast Cancer

Breathe Project: Norfolk Southern Derailment and Explosion Raises Serious Concerns for All Pittsburgh-Region Residents 

Cancer & Environment Network of Southwestern Pennsylvania: Regional Network Calls on NIH and CDC to Establish a Public Health Research Infrastructure in the Wake of a Toxic Disaster 

Environmental Health Project: Statement on Train Derailment and Fire in East Palestine, Ohio 

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production (Joel Tickner and Molly Jacobs, with CFE founding member Charlotte Brody):  Chemistry Urgently Needs to Develop Safer Materials (Scientific American, February 25)

NAACP Statement on East Palestine and Surrounding Communities (Ohio Conference NAACP)

Science & Environmental Health Network, (Blog) Why Our Trains Are Toxic: The Dioxin Backstory; March 2023 Networker: Keeping Track of Trains

CFE Member NIEHS (the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) offers resources, trainings and tools to empower responsible health research in the wake of chemical disasters


Statements and Resources from Allied Organizations

Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Chemical Disaster Prevention Resources and map of chemical disasters

Toxic Free Future, More than 100 groups demand EPA conduct dioxin testing in areas impacted by East Palestine train derailment

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