Marlton, NJ – The derailment of a freight train in New Jersey sent multiple tanker cars carrying hazardous chemicals plummeting into a local creek that flows into the Delaware River. Authorities identified the sections at Interstate 295 in the West Deptford and East Greenwich Township areas and had it closed. This is just a precaution while emergency management officials warned nearby residents to stay inside.
According to the Associated Press they learned that several tanker cars that fell into Mantua Creek reportedly ruptured and one or more were leaking vinyl chloride – a highly-toxic chemical. In fact emergency responders sent as many as 18 people, who reported suffered difficulty in breathing, to local hospitals for medical treatment.
The crash occurred when the train was crossing a bridge and footage taken from the scene showed a partially collapsed structure. Authorities stressed the importance of safety and caution as crews work to clean up the damage.
Vinyl chloride is a chemical compound produced in the United States for use in the making of a wide array of plastic and vinyl products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already warned that short-term, acute exposure to high levels of the chemical can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrhythmia, and inhibition of blood clotting. Long-term exposure the toxic material can lead to life-threatening conditions, including liver damage and cancer. Vinyl is classified by the EPA as a Group A, carcinogen in humans. It is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor that is slightly soluble in water.
According to authorities, the rail bridge the Conrail train was traveling had collapsed one other time been in 2009. At the time of that incident, a 50-car freight train transporting coal was passing over it, which partially derailed spilling its cargo along the Mantua Creek.
Chicago Tribune learned from the authorities that they have reportedly evacuated a half-mile radius around the spill and closed the waterway until a thorough cleanup is made.
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