I-TEAM INVESTIGATES: Familiar contractor hired by Norfolk Southern

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019
News 12 @ 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Norfolk Southern has hired a contractor to assist any possible environmental damage and health risks associated with the train derailment. The carrier hired the same contractor that monitored the derailment in Graniteville 14-years ago.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Hazard (CTEH) is a for-profit company hired by other companies to provide community risk assessments after a disaster. CTEH also works with federal agents and reports possible environmental and health concerns to impacted communities.

CTEH monitored the air quality after the Graniteville crash. It also handled a 2012 derailment in Kentucky. According to a lawsuit, CTEH told cleanup crews the area was safe to begin work but there was an explosion. Two workers were injured. The workers sued CTEH among several others and won.

In 2010, Congresswoman Lois Capps asked BP not to employ CTEH to handle cleanups in the Gulf because of past incidents of tainted results. Capps wrote. CTEH has a history of being hired by companies accused of harming public health and releasing findings defending the corporate interest that employ them."

CTEH sent this statement after the story aired:

"Below is a statement from Dr. Phil Goad, CTEH founder and principal toxicologist:

During its more than 20 years in business, CTEH has never been found negligent for its services. As in all emergency responses, its priority is to safeguard public health. Its plans are thoroughly vetted by highly seasoned scientific experts and approved by local, state and federal agencies. In this instance, it is partnering with Norfolk Southern, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State of Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Jefferson County Emergency Management to execute air sampling plans and regularly communicate its results to assist with planning and response activities."