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Dangers of Chlorine in Water After Train Derailment

By Jeff Wise March 28, 2023

Do you know about the dangers of chlorine in water? What about trains carrying this toxic chemical?

Train derailments have been in the news a lot recently. It seems like they’re happening more than normal lately. But are they really?

According to, in 2022 there were at least 1,164 train derailments in America. So why are we hearing about them so much now?

We don’t usually hear about train derailments because most of them aren’t serious and occur only in rail yards. Also, many of them aren’t carrying toxic chemicals.

The more serious ones, like the February 2023 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, cause dangerous toxins to leak in the air and waterways and affect many people and wildlife.

Dangers of Chlorine in Water After Train Derailment Disaster

Historic Chlorine Leaks

One of the worst chemicals that could leak from a train derailment is chlorine.

In April of 1996, a freight train in Alberton, Montana derailed. One of the cars leaked chlorine and for that reason the entire town was forced to evacuate.

Just four hours after the spill, more than 1,000 locals were evacuated to a safe location. But still, dozens were hospitalized with breathing problems and several were in critical condition.

While four of the train cars in the derailment carried toxic chlorine, only one overturned and leaked. Chlorine monitors measured this toxin in the Alberton area as 3-7 parts per million. At 10 ppm, chlorine is dangerous to human health, and authorities plan to evacuate at 5 ppm.

Another chlorine gas spill due to a train crash happened in 2005 in Graniteville, SC. This horrible tragedy killed nine and injured hundreds because of chlorine inhalation. Thousands had to leave their homes.

Thankfully, most of those affected in Graniteville were treated and recovered in a short amount of time. But there were still others who suffered long-term damage for years. Just because of a chlorine spill.

Can You Prepare for Chlorine Spills?

Clearly these types of spills can be very dangerous. A study found that if just one train car with chlorine accidentally spilled in a major city, up to 90,000 people could die within 24 hours.

These events are scary because if you’re in this situation, there’s not a whole lot you can do to prepare, unless you have a ventilated underground bunker full of supplies.

Hopefully government officials would be responsible and swift to alert the communities when a dangerous spill occurs. That’s not always the case, though.

Dangers of Chlorine In Water

Clearly, chlorine exposure can be highly dangerous and even deadly. So why do so many of us still believe it's safe to consume in small quantities?

Have we not learned about the dangers of chlorine and chlorine byproducts in water?

Chlorine should be avoided at all costs. If high chlorine exposure causes immediate harm, it only makes since that low doses also cause harm. Maybe it takes a little longer, but there’s no point in risking your health.

You may not be able to prepare for a local chlorine spill caused by a train derailment, but you can prepare for avoiding chlorine in other ways.

Berkey water filtration systems remove chlorine from the water supply, eliminating all possible consumption.

If you are miles away from a train derailment you can still protect your family's water supply.

To avoid chlorine exposure, also use a shower filter that will remove chlorine. And it's probably a good idea to avoid pools that use chlorine, especially if they're indoors.

These decisions will benefit your health in the long run. Be proactive about avoiding chlorine exposure as often as possible.

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