Why did the CDC update its page for vinyl chloride nearly two weeks before the Ohio train derailment? The CDC edited its profile for vinyl chloride just recently, removing a section on how the chemical affects children.
On February 3, a Norfolk Southern Railroad train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, emitting toxic clouds into the air and water supplies. Officials issued an emergency evacuation shortly after, but residents have since returned home. The catastrophe has been downplayed by the media, and the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed the water "safe to drink" – despite the existing reports of wildlife dying in the affected area.
Now it seems even the CDC is minimizing the effects of the chemicals involved in the crash, one of them being vinyl chloride, a gas used to produce a plastic known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). According to the National Cancer Institute, vinyl chloride is a carcinogen that has links to different kinds of cancers, including liver, brain, and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma and leukemia.
In January 2023, the toxicological profile for vinyl chloride was revised from the original guidelines published in the Federal Register nearly four decades ago – on April 17, 1987, to be exact. While toxicological profiles are updated occasionally, users are alarmed by the odd timing. The last profile for vinyl chloride was released in 2006, 17 years ago. It's strange that they drafted it again in January 2023, just weeks prior to the catastrophe in East Palestine.
The CDC's website page for vinyl chloride was recently modified as well. An archived version displays a longer, more detailed FAQ page before the changes were made. The screenshot below shows a long list of FAQs with additional information. The profile initially had the following sections: "How can vinyl chloride affect children?" and "Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health?" – but both have since been removed.
The description in the section on children initially said, “It has not been proven that vinyl chloride causes birth defects in humans, but studies in animals suggest that vinyl chloride might affect growth and development. Animal studies also suggest that infants and young children might be more susceptible than adults to vinyl chloride-induced cancer.” This sounds like important information, especially since families live in the oil blast zone. So why would they remove this?
Oh, but no worries. The CDC included a new section on how to keep you and your family protected from vinyl chloride. Their recommendation? Limit your exposure to cigar and tobacco smoke. "Tobacco smoke contains low levels of vinyl chloride, so limiting your family's exposure to cigarette or cigar smoke may help reduce their exposure to vinyl chloride," the page writes. Other slight changes were made, as detailed by a user @thedaly on Reddit, and the old FAQ section can be seen here.
Organizations continue to minimize the risks of these chemicals even when experts have voiced their concerns. Chemical engineering professor, Dr. Eric Beckham, informed NewsNation of the seriousness of these toxins. “It’s a suspected carcinogen. Long-term exposure is associated with cancers, particularly of the liver,” he said. “Short-term exposures, if they’re high enough, it’s just toxic – it can harm you and kill you.”
Interesting how the CDC, which has spent years promoting a vaccine for a "deadly virus,"is now keeping quiet about the health and safety of Ohioans.