On February 3, 2023, a train carrying toxic chemicals and combustible materials derailed in eastern Ohio in a small town of 5,000 residents. To avoid possible explosions, crews released the contents of five tankers of vinyl chloride and ignited a controlled burn, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

The Ohio chemical accident has raised questions about the long-term impacts on the environment and public health, highlighting the importance of conducting rigorous scientific studies to assess and mitigate risks.

Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a survey on Ohio’s devastating chemical accident to understand public awareness and opinions about the disaster.

Here are the key findings of the survey report:

  • 67.69% supported the disposal method of vinyl chloride, stating exposure to high doses of vinyl chloride can cause health concerns such as liver cancer
  • 49.51% strongly agreed with allowing residents to return home after being deemed safe by the EPA
  • 52.99% believed that it was extremely likely there were more harmful chemicals on the site

To start, the majority (82.25%) of respondents were aware of the 2023 Ohio train derailment, while 17.75% were unaware.

Impact on Health and Environment

Regarding the impacts of chemical release, over 84% of respondents believed the Ohio chemical accident had negative impacts on human health and the environment in the affected area. Among them, 56.85% believed that the 2023 Ohio train derailment would definitely have negative impacts, while 27.44% believed it probably would.

Only 0.31% of respondents believed that the chemical release from the Ohio train derailment would definitely not have negative impacts.

Disposal Method of Vinyl Chloride

Figure 1: Respondents’ opinions regarding the disposal method of vinyl chloride

Regarding the disposal of vinyl chloride, a highly toxic chemical found on the train, about 87% of respondents agreed with the authorities’ decision to burn the chemical.

To delve into detail, 67.69% supported it, stating exposure to high doses of vinyl chloride can cause health concerns such as liver cancer. Additionally, 15.47% agreed it was better than risking an unpredictable explosion.

In contrast, 4.93% of respondents did not agree with the burning of vinyl chloride because they believed it posed a much greater risk.

Residents’ Return and the Likelihood of More Harmful Chemicals

A majority (80.87%) of respondents agreed with the authorities’ decision to allow residents to return home after air and water samples collected for testing were deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among them, 49.51% strongly agreed, and 31.36% agreed.

Figure 2: The likelihood of the presence of more harmful chemicals

About 82% of respondents believed that it was extremely likely (52.99%) or likely (29.72%) that there were more harmful chemicals on the site than what the EPA is currently looking at. This indicates concern for the potential long-term impact of the 2023 Ohio train derailment.

Satisfaction with Norfolk Southern’s Handling

The survey results also showed that 29.57% of respondents were satisfied, and another 25.89% showed extreme satisfaction with how Norfolk Southern, the train company, had handled the situation to minimize harm from the 2023 Ohio train derailment.

However, 32.36% of respondents were either unsatisfied (23.66%) or extremely unsatisfied (8.7%) with their handling of the situation.

Recovery Time From the Ohio Train Disaster

Respondents were split on how long it would take for the state to fully recover from the chemical leak caused by the 2023 Ohio train derailment.

Figure 3: Recovery time from the Ohio train disaster

The largest group (23.13%) believed it would take less than a year, followed closely by 3-5 years (22.92%). A significant number (22.34%) of respondents believe it would take 1-3 years, while 18.87% believed it would take more than five years.


Survey TitleSurvey on Ohio’s Devastating Chemical Accident
DurationFebruary 23 – March 02, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.