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WV Chemical Mystery Deepens: Pregnant Women Water Ban Issued, Military Involved

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Pregnant women in the West Virginia American Water’s Charleston-based system area were advised Wednesday night to drink only bottled water until there is no “Crude MCHM” detected, at any level. This has raised human rights safety issues for everyone there, especially since the chemical data of Crude MCHM has been kept a secret and the military is involved in the crisis.

In 12 hours on Wednesday, over 100 people went to emergency rooms with poisoning symptoms. Over teo hundred hospital admissions occurred over the weekend. Hundreds of others have reported to doctor clinics for poisoning symptoms.

The government says a lack of data exists on the poisonous chemical that Koch Brother’s distributor, Freedom Industries, leaked into the West Virginia water supply of nine counties.

Now, officials, at least in terms of pregnant women, are agreeing with toxicologists: No level of poison is a “safe” level.

A week ago, a tank in Charleston, West Virginia belonging to Freedom Industries, a chemical distributor for Koch Industries, leaked 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, “Crude MCHM, into the environment, including Elk River.

Military steps in as limited data available on Crude MCHM

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health issued a one-page “Water Advisory for Pregnant Women” around 8 p.m. Wed. night. It recommended the zero water for pregnant women “out of an abundance of caution” and based it on federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consultations.

CDC, however, refused to discuss the matter, unlike the U.S. military, that was also heavily involved in the BP Gilf of Mexico operation that began in 2010 and poisoned tens of thousands of victims 

A Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesperson Lawrence Messina said the government will notify the public when: 1) the WVAW system chemical drops to zero and 2) the advisory for pregnant women is lifted.

Officials also released a one-page letter to DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling, citing CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden saying there is a “limited availability of data” on the chemical released into the Elk River.

In the letter, Frieden said the CDC’s previous guidance concentrations of the chemical below 1 part per million are “a protective level to prevent adverse health effects.”

State officials had issued a statement advising that 1 part-per-million of the chemical was acceptable to drink.

The CDC has repeatedly refused requests for interviews on the matter.

Frieden refused to answer questions on the telephone at home from a Charleston Gazette reporter.

“There’s not a lot of data that we have with this particular chemical as the letter alludes to,” said senior CDC press officer Tom Skinner. “We’re basing our calculations on the limited data and experience that we have on this.”

Meanwhile, on behalf of the rest of their pals in the 1%, the Koch brothers, and the special interest groups under their control, are spending millions to buy this year’s elections.

The new film, Unacceptable Levels, screening around the country today, could not have been launched at a better time. This 2013 documentary film is about widespread use of chemicals and their effects on the natural environment and human health.

(See: Unacceptable Limits trailer below, and visit it’s website here.)

 



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    • Paul Brown

      When you have the kind of money the Koch brothers and their cronies have, it’s a wonder that we still have reporting like yours. Thank you, Ms. Dupre’.

      • Deborah Dupre

        Shucks, Mr. Brown. Thank you for being one of my most loyal readers.

    • Paveway IV

      “…State officials had issued a statement advising that 1 part-per-million of the chemical was acceptable to drink…”

      This was based on absolute junk science by the CDC and was entirely motivated by the ability of humans to smell MCHM at levels BELOW 1 ppm. The WVWA is fully capable of cleaning out their system but they don’t want to spend the money to do it.

      The cheap/easy way is the preposterous ‘flush’ which is still going to leave residues. People will be able to smell those residues. The CDC 1 ppm level was chosen to trick people to thinking that the water is clean enough even with the smell. Fact is that the analytical tests for MCHM are expensive and complicated. Koch, Freedom, WV and the CDC don’t want to bother with all that expensive, time-consuming testing all over the system. It’s a lot easier at some point to claim the plant is now producing MCHM-free water (according to their testing), and that it’s only a matter of flushing out the contaminated stuff. If someone complains in three weeks that their water is still stinky, the state will tell them to shut up because the water is fine.

      1 ppm is not a terribly low amount to begin with. In fact, it’s quite a bit by other industrial poison standards. Would you drink water with one part per million of insecticide? How about a part per million of benzene? If the CDC was worried about an abundance of caution, they would be talking about parts per BILLION (and they wouldn’t have a shred of evidence that it was safe at THOSE levels).

      Why does grandma get a body-cavity search on her way through a TSA checkpoint, while terrorists at Koch, Freedom and the WVWA sit back and laugh at all the little people?

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