Study: West Virginia Chemical Spill Unlikely to Impact Public Health

The National Toxicology Program conducted a nearly year-long study of the Elk River in Charleston, where a cracked tank wall released 10,000 gallons of coal-processing chemicals from a Freedom Industries plant in early 2014.

Mnet 118827 Freedom Industries

Federal authorities investigating the site of a chemical spill in West Virginia found "very little reason for concern about long-term health effects," according to the state's health department.

The National Toxicology Program conducted a nearly year-long study of the Elk River in Charleston, where a cracked tank wall released 10,000 gallons of coal-processing chemicals from a Freedom Industries plant in early 2014.

Although the spill led to emergency declarations and a nearly week-long ban on tap water for some 300,000 residents near the state capital, NTP investigators only found problems in animal studies at much higher levels of exposure to 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or MCHM.

West Virginia officials said the study confirmed that the actions taken in the immediate aftermath of the spill were appropriate.

“The scientific results of the NTP studies released today upheld the drinking water advisory issued during the Elk River chemical spill which is good and reassuring news for West Virginia residents who reside in the affected communities,” said Rahul Gupta, the state health officer.

The state's Department of Health and Human Resources also launched a study of birth weights in the nine-county area affected by the spill at the request of federal authorities.

 

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