No pollution registered after chemical-carrying train derails in Illinois

The people, who were evacuated from their homes after the derailment of a chemical-carrying train in Illinois, have been allowed to return to their homes Friday. Local authorities determined that nothing dangerous had leaked as a result of the accident.

Canadian National spokesman Jim Kvedaras said two tanker cars that derailed contained phosphoric acid, a chemical often used in processing food and soft drinks. Direct contact with its liquid form can be hazardous, but it is not prone to vaporizing, said Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson.

About 100 people living within a half-mile (800 meters) of the Southern Illinois derailment site were ordered to evacuate shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. There were no immediate reports of injuries, and a hazardous materials emergency response team was sent in, the AP says.

Kvedaras said residents were allowed to return just after 1 a.m. Friday.

"It's confirmed there is no leak, so cleanup can commence," he said.

Fifteen of the train's 139 cars derailed near Salem, a town of about 6,000 residents, 70 miles (113 kilometers) east of St. Louis. Kvedaras said it would take several days if not weeks to determine what caused the derailment.