On January 9, 2014, 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM leaked into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia. State and federal agencies issued a state of emergency and ordered 300,000 West Virginia residents not to drink or use tap water for any purpose other than flushing toilets. Reviewing this situation can help us understand how to be prepared. I wrote the following just a few weeks after the spill.
I have received a number of questions regarding the recent chemical spill in West Virginia. I would like to go over some of the facts about the spill and talk about what you can do to protect your family from this situation and future chemical spills. (Yes, it will happen again.)
MCHM is a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process. Unfortunately, there is simply not a lot of information available about this chemical. The fact is, no one knows what the health effects of this chemical are! Richard Denison, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist at the Environmental Health Fund says this, “How, you might well ask, is this possible? How can a chemical in active production and use – and now being released into the environment and exposing people – be on the market without any publicly released hazard data or evidence of its safety?”
He goes on to explain that, Read More >