Case Western Reserve University studying health impact of train derailment
Case Western Reserve University continues to search for volunteers for its health study on the East Palestine train derailment. Researchers told 21 News they already have hundreds of participants from the Mahoning Valley and Pennsylvania. They're paying close attention to DNA sampling that indicates potential health problems down the road.
"My concern is the long-term effects on my health," explained Larry McBride of Salem. "How it is today and how it's going to be three or four years from now."
Case Western Reserve University researchers are the latest to look into the health risks of those affected by the East Palestine Train derailment.
The Healthy Futures Research study already recruited over 200 participants for community-based participatory research to understand the derailment's health impact. The study is looking for adults who live in PA, Mahoning, and Columbiana Counties.
"These universities that have these grants for research studies, it's wonderful, a wonderful opportunity for these residents to get tested," said Stacey Rinehart, Manager with East Palestine Justice.
This study analyzes symptomology and DNA damage, which are both aspects that could lead to chronic health conditions such as cancer, and metabolic and autoimmune disease.
"We're trying to get a baseline measure as close as possible even nine months out to understand what it looks like in that moment and then we'll have some other collection periods later on," explained Fredrick Schumacher, Assistant Professor with the College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
Case Western Reserve University joins a handful of other colleges and groups conducting specific studies on the potential health impacts of the train derailment.
"The more studies the better," explained McBride. "I like what Case Western Reserve University had to say today because it's focusing strictly on how it affects your DNA and how it can detect cancer." McBride is participating in a handful of studies including Case Western's.
As the study collects participant exposure data, a variety of stakeholder engagement sessions also continue for the public to get a better understanding of what is being done. Some audience members even got emotional, thanking the group for helping to get them answers.
"It just brings out some of the greater impact of what we're doing," Schumacher said. "Trying to address even a small question and having it reduce that anxiety just a little bit is something that would be beneficial from my work."
Participants will also be compensated based on their level of involvement in the study.
If you're interested in participating in the study, visit healthyfuturesresearch.org/info.