4 Hospitalized, Lawsuits Filed in West Virginia Chemical Spill
The tap water is still unsafe to use for any purpose.
Four people have reportedly been hospitalized after a chemical spilled into the public water treatment system in West Virginia. Their symptoms, which include nauseous and vomiting, cannot definitively be linked to the spill.
For the past three days, 300,000 people in nine counties have been unable to use tap water. Officials have ordered people not to use the water for any purpose or under any circumstance.
The toxic chemical spill has forced businesses and restaurants to close. Fox News’ Doug McKelway reported that emergency rooms in the Charleston area have been flooded with patients.
The president of Freedom Industries plant, Gary Southern, said the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is relatively benign. It’s a foaming agent used in the processing of coal.
The Centers for Disease Control says the agent may cause eye and skin irritation, upper respiratory system irritation, and headaches in humans. Southern said the chemical presents no danger to aquatic life, but the CDC says it can cause unconsciousness, and liver and kidney damage in animals.
FEMA and local emergency responders are providing water from trucks for people to use.
Six lawsuits were filed yesterday against the West Virginia American Water Company and Freedom Industries. One of those lawsuits was filed by a man scheduled to have a kidney transplant yesterday. His operation was delayed because the hospital can’t use the water.
There is no exact date for when the water supply will be safe to use, but it will likely be a matter of days and will happen in a phase-in approach with the consumption of water being the last phase.