A bill establishing a long-term study of the public health impacts of the Norfolk Southern train derailment last year has taken another step toward becoming law.

The Health Impact Monitoring Act was passed with bipartisan support through the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 

"Families in East Palestine deserve to understand the long-term health implications of the Norfolk Southern train derailment," said Senator J.D. Vance. "This legislation will empower trusted and respected research institutions to give residents the answers they deserve.

In addition to studying the long-term impacts of the derailment, the bill would also direct the secretary of health and human services to award grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements to universities and research institutions in the region to conduct the voluntary health study, according to a news release from Sen. J.D. Vance, who co-sponsored the bill with Senators Sherrod Brown and Jon Fetterman.

“Today we took a step forward to get these Ohioans the answers and the information they need to understand the impact on their health. I’ll keep fighting to make this law,” Brown said.

The goal of the study is to use epidemiologists, toxicologists, cancer researchers, neurologists, and others to provide participants with annual progress reports, a final report within five years, and health recommendations.

Representatives Dave Joyce and Marcy Kaptur have also introduced a companion bill in the Ohio House of Representatives.