Joyce, Kaptur Introduce Bill to Address Health Impacts of East Palestine Train Derailment 

May 30, 2024
Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH-14) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) introduced the East Palestine Health Impact Monitoring Act of 2024 to authorize funding through Fiscal Year 2028 to conduct a study of the long-term health impacts of the 2023 East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) marked up Senator J.D. Vance’s (R-OH) companion legislation on Thursday. 

“Over a year ago, the lives of residents in East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding areas were turned upside down following the derailment of a train carrying thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals,” said Congressman Joyce. “As many residents are still concerned about the potential for long-term health impacts, this bipartisan legislation will help ensure proper research is done through HHS to identify any harmful effects now and in the future. I will continue to rally support behind this legislation in the House and Senate to help rebuild the community.”

“More than one year later, as the people of East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding communities continue to recover from the Norfolk Southern train derailment, and subsequent venting and burning of toxic chemicals, it is imperative that we continue to monitor the human health impacts,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “We have a responsibility and duty to address the community’s concerns. I am honored to co-lead this bipartisan legislation which would secure the necessary funds to better understand the long-term health impacts that residents and neighboring communities face. While we cannot undo what has been done, we can put every possible effort forward to ensure that the railroads are held accountable for their negligence, and that those impacted are made whole.”

“Families in East Palestine deserve to understand the long-term health implications of the Norfolk Southern train derailment,” said Senator Vance. “This legislation will empower trusted and respected research institutions to give residents the answers they deserve. I’m thankful we had an overwhelming, bipartisan vote to pass it through committee and that it’s been introduced by our colleagues in the House of Representatives. There’s more work to be done, but passing this bill would be a big step in the right direction.”


Just over a year ago, on February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, jeopardizing the community’s safety and sense of normalcy. Since the derailment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has failed to monitor and ensure affordable treatment for the potential long-term health impacts of the train derailment, or to establish a voluntary disease registry for the residents of East Palestine to track any long-term effects.

This bill would authorize funding over the span of fiscal years 2024 through 2028 to carry out the study of long-term health impacts of the 2023 East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. Specifically, this bill would require HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to award a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement to a group of public or private higher education institutions to conduct a study on the human health impacts as a consequence of the derailment and subsequent venting and burning of liquid chemicals. The Secretary is directed to give local institutions’ applications additional consideration for receiving funds. 

HHS would then be required to submit a report on the results of the study to the Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. HHS would also be required to submit a progress report on the status of research to the same relevant committees two years after enactment of this measure.

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