Company hired by Norfolk Southern to conduct toxicology test on train derailment chemical release accused of being a farce
02/20/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

The private contractor that Norfolk Southern hired to test water, soil, and air quality in East Palestine, Ohio, has a sordid history of minimizing the impacts of environmental disasters in order to placate its corporate employers, sources say.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), which is based out of Arkansas, is well known for performing toxicology monitoring within the oil and gas industry following health and safety incidents. The company dealt with a major Louisiana oil spill in 2005, for instance, as well as a toxic coal ash incident that occurred in Tennessee in 2008.

CTEH was also involved with the infamous Chinese drywall fiasco in Florida, having both in this case and in the previous aforementioned cases declared everything to be just fine – which is likely what will also happen in East Palestine.

"A crude oil spill during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008. The BP oil spill in 2010. In all three cases, the companies responsible for these environmental calamities turned to the same Arkansas-based consulting firm, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, to monitor air and water quality and workers' chemical exposure," reported Mother Jones back in 2019.

"And each time, CTEH was later accused of mishandling data collection. And companies used CTEH's findings to reassure people that the spilled chemicals posed little risk to public health."

The New York Times also blasted CTEH over its handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event in 2010, calling it a classic case of the "fox guarding the chicken coop." Democrats in Congress likewise called CTEH's work "conflicts of interest."


(Related: Animals are dying near the "hellish Ohio train derailment site.")

CTEH convinced at least 340 East Palestine residents to sign away their right to sue it or Norfolk Southern for all future liabilities

One local resident of East Palestine named Katlyn Schwarzwaelder told Glenn Beck in an interview this week that a CTEH contractor told her that the company "follow[s] around the railroad when they make mistakes and they are happy to have us here."

Schwarzwaelder further revealed that the contractor handed her a contract to sign that basically stated that she needed to not hold Norfolk and its affiliates, including CTEH, liable for any future problems that may arise from the "controlled explosion."

"I didn't sign it, but unfortunately, 340 other residents did sign it," Schwarzwaelder said.

"That's where my heart just breaks for these people because we don't know the long-term repercussions of what these chemicals can do in our air to our environment to our businesses and they've signed their rights away in the hopes that they are getting help and the right answers from these organizations."

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro also had a few things to say to Norfolk about its "vent and burn" plan for the derailed train. He said the railway gave "inaccurate information and conflicting modeling about the impact of the controlled release that made protective action decision making more difficult in the immediate aftermath of the derailment."

"Norfolk Southern response personnel improperly planned tactical response operations without adequate input from elected officials, local response organizations, or state agencies, resulting in a single plan of action to vent and burn all five cars without allowing for input from Pennsylvania emergency management leaders," the Democrat further wrote in a scathing letter.

"Norfolk Southern failed to explore all potential courses of action, including some that may have kept the rail line closed longer but could have resulted in a safer overall approach for first responders, residents, and the environment."

The latest news about the incident in East Palestine can be found at

Sources for this article include:

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