Dozens of people who live in and around East Palestine met Tuesday in New Waterford for a community town hall.

Several residents say two months later, they still want clarity on response efforts and the testing being done. This was one of the first meetings put on by the community which EPA and village officials, including village Mayor Trent Conaway also attended, as concerns about their health and future linger.

While Norfolk Southern trains traveled past the horizon, people affected by the East Palestine train derailment sparked their ongoing concerns in a community forum to EPA and village officials.

"There's still a lot of unanswered questions," said Mark Durno, Response Coordinator with U.S. EPA. "Why are some of the residents feeling ill? Why are the residents experiencing some of the symptoms they were experiencing a month ago?"

"What we are physically experiencing and what we're hearing is not the same," explained Jamie Wallace, resident of E. Taggart St. "Not only are we concerned about the short-term health issues that we're having now, but long-term health issues. It's going to affect our children."

The community agreed they are fighting for their future generations. Other concerns mentioned included the assistance center giving different reimbursement amounts and some people in town not being comfortable with Norfolk Southern performing soil sampling tests, including split sampling with the EPA.

The EPA's soil sampling process shows all levels of chemicals like dioxins, furanes, and volatile organic chemicals remain low. 

Durno said they measure the soil in parts per trillion, specifically focusing on residential screening levels. Even if high, alarming levels of dioxins were found, it is not understood the EPA would take action to remove it.

"We are all experiencing the same thing, the same symptoms, the same tragedies with our homes, rental properties, and financial situations that we are forced into," said Ashley McCollum, East Palestine resident. "No one wants to go through this. No one wants to be in this. We want to go back home."

Several community members said they've found traces of vinyl chloride and benzene in their urine samples. Several people asked the EPA why this is.

"I had the test done less than two weeks ago and I found out today that I am positive for vinyl chloride," said Linda Murphy of Bye Road. "Everyone who said it disappears like pixie dust in the air and goes out of your system, well, I'm 2.9 miles away [from the derailment site] and this happened. The smell can definitely hurt you."

The EPA clarified it will be weeks before most contaminated soil is removed but there is no way to clean up 100% of it.

From inconsistencies in information and financial assistance and a variety of lingering symptoms, the question remains, what's causing it?

"Is it a direct response to continued chemical exposure? Our data doesn't suggest it does," explained Durno. "There are no hazardous levels of vapors leaving the site. But again, you can't ignore what's happening within the community."

Despite an invite, Norfolk Southern was not in attendance. Durno said there should always be proper monitoring in place far into the future.

"You're getting 156 times more testing compared to before the derailment happened," Conaway said. 

The meeting lasted over 2 hours. 

An Easter egg hunt in the village park that is planned for this weekend is still up in the air as soil safety concerns linger in that area.