Germ Cleaners Sent Into East Palestine Ohio Resident Homes: "This is Not a HAZMAT Situation"
By Louis DeAngelis
An unqualified cleaning company hired by Norfolk Southern to clean affected residents’ homes in the aftermath of the train explosion is potentially providing residents with a false of security
The full story continued below. You can also watch the cover here:
On the heels of the Norfolk Southern train derailment and explosion in East Palestine Ohio, Status Coup has learned the company, which backed out of a town hall meeting with residents on Wednesday, has been sending in a cleaning company equipped to clean germs—not dangerous petrochemicals like vinyl chloride.
Sanifect, a PA-based cleaning company, received a contract with Norfolk Southern to clean residents’ homes in East Palestine so they would not endure out-of-pocket expenses (NS is covering the cost).
But the company is not HAZMAT certified; in fact, according to their own website, Sanifect focuses on “bacteria, viruses, and lingering odors”. Their site also states their system “uses an eco-friendly commercial disinfectant along with our proven technology to wipe out 99.9% of germs, even those in hard-to-reach places.”
Notably, their website doesn’t talk about having any experience cleaning petrochemicals or volatile organic compounds (VOC)—the type of dangerous toxins released into the air, soil, and potentially water in East Palestine and surrounding areas. When residents began asking questions about the company’s credentials to clean their homes potentially filled with cancer-causing chemicals, the owner responded by explaining their cleaning process.
“The product we are using is a neutral cleaner, a green product with no harsh chemicals,” Paul wrote. “It also doesn’t require any wiping afterward. Norfolks asked for all of you to wipe everything in your homes upon return. Our process allows you to not have to do that.”
But the owner went even further; puzzlingly, in since-deleted Facebook comments, obtained by Status Coup, Paul, responded to a question about whether the company is HAZMAT certified by asserting the clean up after the toxic train explosion “is not a Hazmat cleanup.”
The reality is, this is a disaster that would likely require HAZMAT-certified cleaners, especially for folks who live as close to the tracks as the residents interviewed for this article.
After reaching the company by phone, they confirmed that they are not HAZMAT certified. They would not say exactly which cleaners were being used, but did say that they would share the info with their customers, but not with a journalist or anyone else.
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Jenna Catone who lives less than half a mile away from the derailment has the train tracks in her backyard and used Sanifect to clean her home. She provided this information on the cleaning solution being used. Status Coup is in contact with a chemical expert to confirm, but according to the maker of this products website, it is used for killing COVID-19, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and molds.
There is no mention of it being used to clean chemicals of any kind.
Sanifect had been receiving some rightful questions about all of this on Facebook, and after deleting certain posts from their own page, as well as at least one direct message to a customer, they made this post (Show post) in East Palestine Talk, a Facebook group with local residents.
A critical line from the post is the following:
“The product we are using is a neutral cleaner, a green product with no harsh chemicals. It also doesn't require any wiping afterward. Norfolk asked for all of you to wipe everything in your homes upon return. Our process allows you to not have to do that.”
To connect the dots here- Residents had been told when they return home they need to clean hard surfaces by wiping everything down. Norfolk Southern then signed a contract with Sanifect to offer cleanings so homeowners did not need to wipe down their surfaces. Sanifect then arrived at local residents’ homes and sprayed cleaning supplies that aren’t effective at cleaning up chemicals, and then told residents that they do not need to wipe down their surfaces.
Support Status Coup’s ON-THE-GROUND cover as Louis DeAngelis heads to East Palestine to talk to residents, organizers, and others as the mainstream media are packing their bags and heading home.
The lack of precautions taken for chemical toxins could leave residents with the chemicals still in their homes, but now with a new layer of a neutral cleaner on top of it that is not effective in cleaning chemicals, but instead is used to kill viruses and bacteria.
Jenna also shared a video of the cleaning from her home security cameras. Currently, there are concerns about contaminated soil in the area and the company did not use coverings over their shoes as would be standard practice in any home cleaning, let alone one where large amounts of harmful chemicals spilled nearby.
Jenna claims the cleaners dragged extension cords through her home that had been running on the ground outside. These are other potential risks to folks using this company hired by Norfolk Southern.
“He comes to my house…I see them walk in with their shoes on. Most companies use full booties and suits,” Jenna explains. “He didn’t wipe a single thing down. He walked through. He dragged an extension cord from his truck, through the dirt, into my house. We’re in a time where we are worried about soil contaminants. If my house wasn’t contaminated, you don’t think things landed outside?”
Why is Norfolk Southern hiring a cleaning company that is not HAZMAT certified to clean local residents’ homes, when they very well know that this is a HAZMAT situation? Why is this local company claiming that this neutral cleaner makes it so that you do not need to wipe down the surfaces in your home?
Status Coup will be looking more into this and other stories as we will be arriving on the ground in East Palestine to interview residents, organizers, and others this weekend into next week.
For more stories follow us on Twitter at @statuscoup at the #EastPalestineStatusCoup or on YouTube.
Status Coup News is a leading independent ON-THE-GROUND and investigative news outlet uncovering what the corporate media covers up. From corruption — to environmental genocide — we show up while the rest of the media bloviates. Our mission is to give the microphone back to the people.