Effects Linger from 2005 Toxic Train Wreck


A toxic train wreck in January 2005 that killed nine people, six of them workers at a local textile plant who died of painful chlorine gas inhalation, continues to affect the residents of the small South Carolina town of Graniteville. According to research gathered 9 months after the crash, 18 percent of people screened showed signs of obstructive lung disease, twice the national average. In addition, more than half of the residents screened had decreased lung function, and more than a quarter of them had inflammation of their airways. Almost a third of the residents showed asthma-like diseases, often associated with chlorine exposure. Furthermore, 41 percent showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder following the spill and the resulting evacuation. Now new data is about to be released to show to what extent this damage has persisted over two years further on.

The spill occurred on January 6, 2005, when an interstate train was diverted by a misplaced rail switch onto a spur where a local train was parked. The interstate train, which included three cars carrying 270 tons of liquefied chlorine gas, was traveling 45 miles an hour at the time of impact. The impact damaged many cars, including the chlorine gas cars, despite the fact that they were the new standard in heat-treated steel.

The train crash could have been prevented if the switch had been equipped with an electronic indicator, but the railroad industry has been reluctant to invest the mere $100,000 it would require to modernize the 40 percent of the US’ mainline tracks that have no electronic notification.

Unfortunately, when companies cut corners, you suffer. If you or someone you love has been injured in a train wreck or toxic spill, contact PersonalInjury.com today to get in touch with a local lawyer who can get compensation for you and protection for your community.