July 18, 2018

Formaldehyde Found In West Virginia’s Drinking Water

According to the Charleston Gazette, a Marshall University scientists and member of the state Environmental Quality Board said he found formaldehyde in local water samples linked to the Freedom Industries chemical spill three weeks ago. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen. This issue affects customers of West Virginia American Water.

Wastewater SpillageThe first chemical found in the water, 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or also called Crude MCHM has methanol in it. Methanol breaks down into formaldehyde. The standard for Crude MCHM, according to the CDC, is 1 part per million, except for pregnant women. The CDC page on this issue states, “due to the limited availability of data, and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women may wish to consider an alternative drinking water source until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system.”

The scientist, Scott Simonton, told the Gazette, “we don’t know what happens to this stuff once it gets into the environment. What happens when it reacts with makeup or soap or shampoo or anything else that we come into contact with everyday?”

The CDC has also said that another chemical was released into the water on January 9, 2014. The chemical is a “proprietary mixture of polyglycol ethers (PPH) that was in the same tank as the Crude MCHM. Toxologic information on PPH is limited.

West Virginia is still under a state of emergency, almost three weeks after the incident occurred. You can find water distribution centers at various fire departments and community centers around the state.

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