Case Western Reserve researchers recruiting East Palestine residents for DNA damage study
A team from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland is inviting residents from East Palestine and nearby areas to take part in a research effort focused on understanding the effects of the Norfolk Southern train derailment, fire, and chemical spill that occurred on February 3rd.
This initiative, known as the "Healthy Futures Research Project," aims to investigate how chemical exposures during the incident may impact the short- and long-term health of residents. The research will involve assessing DNA damage, which could potentially raise the risk of developing chronic health conditions like cancer, metabolic disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
The project team is actively engaging with residents through face-to-face interviews. The goal of these interviews is to gain insights into the quality of life after the disaster, perceptions of risk, and healthcare needs. The multi-center research group is composed of epidemiologists, community outreach specialists, and healthcare advocates. These experts are collaborating with partner institutions across the affected region.
To ensure community involvement and input, the project is establishing a Community Advisory Board. This board will play a role in guiding the recruitment of participants and advocating for their interests. Residents will have the opportunity to influence ongoing and future research endeavors, as outlined on the university's website.
The train derailment resulted in the controlled combustion of five tanker cars, releasing phosgene and hydrogen chloride into the air. Exposure to these gases can lead to symptoms ranging from irritation of the nose, throat, skin, eyes, and larynx to vomiting and breathing difficulties.
To introduce the project and its research team to the community, researchers are planning events to facilitate the recruitment of residents. Online questionnaires will be used to gather information about participants' exposure and individual health risks. Additionally, biospecimens will be collected from participants to assess the impact of exposure on health, and to understand the relationship between proximity to the exposure site and DNA damage.
Furthermore, interviews will be conducted with residents to explore how a disaster can influence perceptions of risk, coping strategies, and access to health-protective resources.
Those who are interested in participating in the Healthy Futures Research Community Advisory Board or receiving updates about the research can complete the form provided at the following link.