By Dave Warner
Clarksboro (NJ) – A U.S. Coast Guard official informed an angry crowd on Wednesday that it may take until next week to clear the air of toxic chemicals spilled after a train wreck in Paulsboro, where evacuations were ramped up this week.
Elevated levels of vinyl chloride, a highly toxic and flammable industrial chemical, are low, but must get back down to zero before residents of the nearly 150 homes evacuated in Paulsboro, New Jersey, are allowed to return to their homes, said Coast Guard Captain Kathy Moore. Moore addressed an estimated 500 people at a meeting at a school gymnasium in Clarksboro.
Respiratory problems, coughing, and light-headedness were the problems that residents exposed to the hazardous chemicals may experience, but Lawrence Ragonese, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said there may be no long term effects.
Skeptical residents shouted doubts about the assurances they heard from officials that vinyl chloride levels were low, complaining that their neighborhood now smelled like dry-cleaning chemicals and that there was a noticeable absence of birds in the sky.
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