Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency fell ill when investigating the aftermath of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment last month.
As first reported by CNN, seven of the CDC's 15-person Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry team fell ill while working on an investigation, which they began conducting around March 6.
Their symptoms were consistent with what some of the residents near the derailment site experienced: coughing, headaches, sore throats, and nausea and were "resolved for most team members later the same afternoon," the agency said in a statement to CNN, which noted that "everyone resumed work on survey data collection within 24 hours."
Those were not the only government workers who fell ill in the area, however.
CNN learned that in February, two contractors working with the Environmental Protection Agency separately reported feeling ill to their safety officer after inhaling strong odors and were told to step away and monitor their symptoms, per a statement from a spokesperson.
Their symptoms reportedly abated and they returned to work the same day, and the agency hasn't yet explained what or where the contractors were working on, though it did make a point to mention that of the more than 100 EPA personnel who have been deployed to East Palestine, only those two reported feeling unwell.
Despite those reassurances, there are a few significant outstanding questions at play here, including what exactly caused their illnesses and why it took nearly a month for the news to go public.
As the report notes, the CDC did not officially confirm that any of its employees had gotten ill until posts began circulating on social media about it, and when Futurism reached out to the agency for more information, our specific questions were ignored.
It's not at all shocking that a handful of government workers got sick while investigating this disaster given just how much noxious gas was released during the controlled burn. And in the grand scheme of things, not that many people have gotten sick, and it sounds as though those who did didn't stay sick for too long.
But it is striking that these agencies that are supposed to report important health information to the public chose to go with a "nothing to see here, folks" directive that nobody really believes — and it certainly isn't helping their credibility.
More on the East Palestine derailment: Tens of Thousands of Animals Died for Miles Around Toxic Spill, Officials Admit