CDC: Water is Safe to Drink when MCHM is at Non-Detect Levels, Including Pregnant Woman

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the first time since the MCHM leak in Kanawha County on Jan. 9, health officials are using the word "safe" when it comes to drinking the water.

On Monday afternoon, Barbara Reynolds with the CDC said, "Based on what we know, if the water is at non-detectable levels for MCHM it is safe to drink, bathe in and clean with, and this would include for pregnant women."

"We also want to recognize that any faint MCHM-related smell could be off putting and that proper flushing of water lines is important," Reynolds said.

According to Reynolds, CDC's original 1ppm threshold was a conservative calculation below where they believed there would be no adverse health effects. She says that calculation has been supported after rigorous scientific review.

Reynolds says, "While a toxicologist does not speak precisely in terms of safe or not safe—saying “safe” here is a less scientific way of restating our belief about how the water can be used."

Regardless of what words they use, Nitro resident Karlina Norris says she's not going back to the tap just yet.

"We don't know what it's going to do to you in the long run," Norris said.

Norris says she's flushed her system seven times, but her water still smells like licorice.

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