Monday, February 27, 2023

Feb. 27: Shapiro Davis Administration Opening PA Health Resource Center In Beaver County Tuesday; Healthcare Providers Webinar; Door-To-Door Health Survey

On February 27, The Shapiro Administration announced the state Department of Health is opening a Health Resource Center in Darlington Township, Beaver County on Tuesday for residents of Beaver and Lawrence counties who have health concerns following the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, OH on February 3, 2023. 

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture will also be on hand at the Center to help interested residents sign up for free, independent water testing and to provide guidance on food and animal safety, respectively.

Health Center

The Department of Health is working with local leaders and healthcare providers to open the center starting Tuesday, February 28 at the Darlington Township Building, 3590 Darlington Rd., Darlington, PA 16115. 

The Center will be open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and is scheduled to operate through March 10.

“Today, my Administration is taking another step to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of every Pennsylvanian affected by the Norfolk Southern train derailment,” said Gov. Shapiro. “Starting Tuesday, Pennsylvanians who are concerned about the impacts of the derailment on their health will have an additional resource to turn to, where they can talk to public health experts right in their own community from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Human Services, to receive treatment should they need it. From the beginning of our response to Norfolk Southern's derailment, my Administration has worked hand-in-hand with first responders and emergency management personnel, our partners in Ohio, and the federal government to ensure our citizens in Western Pennsylvania have the resources and information they need to be safe and healthy.”

The Shapiro Administration has been working closely with leaders from both parties to help protect Pennsylvania communities affected by the Norfolk Southern train derailment — and the input and support from Sen. Elder Vogel, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, and Rep. Jim Marshall has been critical in opening this Health Resource Center.

Healthcare Providers Webinar

This week, DOH is inviting healthcare providers in the region to join an educational webinar to provide information on what they should be looking for in patients who visit their offices, and how to address any health concerns from residents affected by the derailment aftermath. 

Healthcare providers, including family/primary care physicians and nurses, emergency department staff, and urgent care providers who are seeing patients with health concerns related to the derailment – and who are interested in joining the webinar – can register online here.

Door-To-Door Visits

On Sunday, February 26, DOH began partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct door-to-door visits, starting with residents who were evacuated within the one-mile radius of the train derailment. 

They are conducting Assessment of Chemical Exposure (ACE) surveys that include discussing symptoms, experiences, and concerns about the impact of the train derailment.

 If residents aren’t available, information will be provided, and clinicians will schedule a follow-up visit. The ACE surveyors are expected to reach other residents in the coming days and weeks, including residents who visit the Health Resource Center.

Air, Water Monitoring

Health, environmental, and safety officials from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and multiple federal agencies are working together to continually monitor air and water quality in the region. Monitoring has been in place since the incident began. 

Pennsylvania continues to see no concerning air or water quality readings following this incident.

Two weeks ago, the Shapiro Administration announced DEP will conduct its own independent water sampling to closely monitor water contamination risks.

Visit the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) online train derailment dashboard for details about the derailment response.


-- WESA: Railroad Group Defends Industry Safety Practices As PA Opens Health Center In Beaver County Near Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: PA Senate Hearing: Federal Regulators Tie PA’s Hands On Hazmat Train Safety  [Senate Transportation Committee hearing video, testimony]

-- PennLive: PA Senate Panel Learns There’s Little State Can Do To Implement Own Railway Rules

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: PA Senate Consider Issuing Subpoena To Norfolk Southern To Compel Testimony

-- PA Capital-Star: Federal Railroad Administration: Over Last 10 Years, Norfolk Southern Had 163 Train Derailments, 2.9 Hazardous Material Releases Per Year

-- USA Today: Experts Say Trains Are Becoming Less Safe: ‘Disasters Like East Palestine Will Be More And More Prevalent’

[Posted: February 27, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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