University of Kentucky experts are surprised to find lower-than-expected dioxin levels in the bodies of East Palestine residents.

The University College of Public Health sampled blood from 18 East Palestine residents in July of 2023. Those sampled were Caucasian,  ranged in all different ages, and lived within one mile of the derailment site.

Results show the dioxin levels are considered typical.

"The levels that we found are within or below what the CDC has previously found in a national study a national pooled sample," head of the study and Chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Dr. Erin Haynes said, "It doesn't mean that others in the community might have higher we didn't. We only measured it in 18 individuals."

Average national dioxin levels show a numeric value of 18.1 TEQ according to the study fact sheet. The sampled East Palestine residents average a value of 10, lower than the national average determined in 2011, but that comparison data is about 13 years old.

It's data that Haynes said needs to be updated to see whether average dioxin levels have changed over time because she said there are less dioxins in the environment than there were in past decades. 

She also points out Dioxins are not the only cancer-causing toxins likely formed from the derailment plume, and one year after exposure, it's hard to tell just how much there was initially.

"The community was exposed to many, many chemicals. This was one class of chemicals," she said, "Liver, and kidney disease in the future are things to that I think need to be monitored. Cancer, of course, should be tracked, but the public's involvement in research studies is very important."

Haynes said the University of Kentucky is launching another phase to track the health effects of East Palestine residents. She encourages residents to get involved and said their department will be putting information out to the public on the University's website in February.