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The chemical spill in East Palestine, OH is awful. Was our farm affected?

February 16, 2023

*Last updated 2/27/23

Have you heard about the chemical spill in Palestine, OH? It’s really just awful. My heart goes out to the families and farmers and wildlife and soil in the affected areas.

There has been so much immediate obvious damage from the vinyl chloride train derailment leak and subsequent "controlled explosion". But, toxins like this often act as slow poison, and we may not know the full impact for years or even decades. 

From what's been reported, we know that vinyl chloride and handful of other chemicals were spilled and entered the waterways in East Palestine, OH. And then there was a "controlled burn" to "clean up" the spill. Burning these chemicals releases dioxins into the air, which are terrible toxins that can cause longterm and chronic diseases like immune suppression, cancer, infertility, and more.

Now more than ever, it's so important to know your farmer and buy farm-direct! How will you know that food from the store is not from an affected area?

We’ve gotten a slew of emails from customers wondering if our farm was affected. And rightly so! I mean, how can we produce the most natural, highest quality food if our land is contaminated?

I did a bit of research, and here’s what I found:

We are 300 miles east of the spill. This is well outside the suggested 3,500 square mile contamination area.

The jet stream goes northeast, and we are east/southeast. Unless there was a big shift in air patterns, we should be clear from contaminated air.

This is a map of contamination by air with expected and typical air patterns (a computer generated model), and we seem to be in the clear.

Here is a NOAA map showing actual air movement from the days of the burn.Thankfully, it looks like it may have just missed us.

We are in a different watershed. This means that contaminated land water will not runoff to our area. That being said, pollution by air may have dropped dioxins in our greater watershed. At what concentrations, I don't know!

We are in a different aquifer. This means that contaminated ground water should not runoff in our area. Again, pollution by air may have spread dioxins to our aquifer, but it's too early to know if or how much damage there has been.

So, it seems that our farm is most likely in the clear.

All this being said, I’m not an expert on these types of toxic disasters. Fingers crossed that this preliminary research holds true and we remain unaffected.

What are your thoughts on toxins in our environment? Do you have any advice for those who were sadly exposed? Do you have any recommendations on how the farm should respond?

I’d love to hear from you. I highly recommend commenting on the blog (no account required - start typing for the guest option to appear). This is a great way for customers to share info with each other regarding this issue. Not a blog commenting kind of person? No worries. You can contact us directly. 🙂

Marie Reedell

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