Ohio mom sounds the alarm on air quality in East Palestine: ‘We’re still being poisoned’

An Ohio mother expressed concerns about returning home in East Palestine as officials insist the air is safe after a train derailment that expelled toxic chemicals.

“It’s not OK for people to be here right now,” Jessica Helpy said on “The Story.” “I know that an evacuation order has been lifted, but the air quality is not OK.”

EPA administrator Michael Regan said at a Thursday press conference that his agency assisted with the screenings of nearly 500 homes in the area and continues to conduct 24/7 air monitoring to ensure the health of residents regarding water. 

Regan and other officials have insisted that testing shows the air is safe to breathe and that he would allow his children to drink and bathe in the water if the home had been tested by the state and “given a clean bill of health.” 

The mother of two told host Martha MacCallum that even though the evacuation order was lifted, the air quality is still not good. 

“A lot of people are emotionally tied to their home or their town, so they’re trying to stick it out, but we’re not getting the resources we need to really make this tragedy corrected the safest way,” Helpy said. “The way this is being handled right now, in my opinion, has been unethical. It’s immoral.”

“The fact that we are still being told by the EPA that contaminants continue to be released into the air, water and soil per their document is — it really makes you scared when you have children to bring home to this town and you’re being told it’s safe, but you can smell the chemicals as soon as you get here.” 

Helpy said she and her youngest son went into town for a basketball tournament, but after leaving, they experienced “tremendous headaches.” She added that her son felt so sick he threw up and she almost passed out because she felt lightheaded. 


“How do you deny that over 100 people on our social media thread are saying, you know, ‘I have a rash — a visible rash — I have a rash on my arms now, you know, I’m having headaches and dizziness.’ It’s all common. Everybody is having the same symptoms, yet we’re being told it’s safe,” she said. “It’s not fair that our best interest is not at heart after everything we’ve been through from this. It almost seems like the highest interest is getting the railroad back moving again.”

She said the community hasn’t received any aid from FEMA and residents have had to rely on each other.

“Our local communities have been amazing,” she said. “There has been local communities, local organizations, even individuals that have been amazing. The water is not an issue because people around here are tight-knit and they’re taking care of each other in the ways that we can with food and water, but there is more to this.”

“They need to clean up. They have covered a lot of the contaminated soil rather than removing it. We are still being poisoned. They need to handle this the right way, the moral way, the ethical way, the humanitarian way. They need to get this cleaned up correctly so it doesn’t kill anything else.” 

Fox News Digital’s Bradford Betz contributed to this report. 

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