One downside of treating the residents of East Palestine, Ohio, like yokels is that they are less likely to trust politicians and officials explaining science to them. But maybe that's the strategy, here: if people worry that every headache, itch and rash is caused by the toxic chemical fire upriver of their town, maybe no-one will pay attention years later if more serious problems occur.
Test results have failed to reassure some residents, who say something is making them sick – even if officials can't find it. "When we went back on the 10th, that's when we decided that we couldn't raise our kids here," Amanda Greathouse said. There was a terrible, lingering smell that "reminded me of hair perming solution." Greathouse said she was back in their house, about a block from the crash site, for 30 minutes when she developed a rash and nausea. "When we left, I had a rash on my skin on my arm, and my eyes were burning for a few days after that," said Greathouse, who has two preschool-age children.