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CDC Believes Water is Safe After Chemical Spill


For the first time since the chemical spill on January 9, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined the Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to update the public on the water crisis.

MGN Online

UPDATE 2/5/14 @ 3:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the first time since the chemical spill on January 9, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined the Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to update the public on the water crisis.

The big question during Wednesday's news conference, "Is the Water Safe?"

"With all the scientific evidence we have...you can use you water however you like," Dr. Tanja Popovic with the CDC said.

According to the CDC officials, there are no scientific tests on humans when it comes to MCHM.

"I will say you can use your water however you like. You can drink it, you can bathe in it, you can use it how you like," said Centers for Disease Control's, Dr. Popovic.

CDC officials say they wanted to define how much MCHM was safe so about 15 scientists looked at factors and identified 1ppm was safe for humans.

"What we do and what we did is exactly what we do everyday, we do care about the health and safety of Americans," Dr. Popovic said.

Dr. Popovic says when it comes to pregnant women and vulnerable populations they wanted to be extra careful.

West Virginia American Water will continue testing throughout its distribution system, according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. This additional testing and conclusions will be posted online.

The governor has also asked WVAW to change its filters at the plant as quickly as possible and make available additional water to their customers who request it.

"Your concerns are understandable and we continue to address them head-on," Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said. "Foremost scientists in their field across the world, some of whom are here, have advised they do no anticipate any adverse health effects."

Tomblin says he has directed the state Bureau of Public Health to continue testing raw and finished water at the water plant for the "foreseeable future."

Officials with the EPA also spoke during Wednesday's news conference. They say they've been "engaged since day one."

According to the EPA, the spill site is stabilized and the investigation continues.

At this point, the state does not have plans to do any in home testing. However, the governor suggested he was open to the possibility.

Officials say they believe the place where they are doing the testing is the most accurate.

"We've been doing what we're supposed to be doing and what's expected to find that there is no detection of these chemicals in the water," said Tomblin.

"We are using the water," Tomblin said. "I have been drinking the water the past couple of weeks."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE @ 11:20 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are in Charleston meeting with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to get an update on the response to the spill that contaminated water for hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia.

The governor's office has called a news conference at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday to release more information. You can watch the news conference on WSAZ and on WSAZ.com.

According to a news release, Gov. Tomblin will join members of the state and federal team to provide a detailed update on what has been accomplished, the current status of spill response, and the actions the team plans to take moving forward.

The CDC created the scale that determined when people affected by the spill could safely use the water. At first, the CDC said that it did not anticipate any adverse health effects from levels less than one parts per million.

However, days later the CDC told pregnant women not to drink it.

The CDC recommends as a precaution that pregnant women drink bottled water until there are no longer detectable levels of MCHM in the water distribution system.

State and federal officials have called for more transparency from the CDC about how it reached its conclusions.

You can watch the news conference as soon as it begins on WSAZ NewsChannel3.

WSAZ.com will also carry the news conference live starting at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. To watch the news conference on WSAZ.com, click on the link at the top of the webpage.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Officials from the federal agency that helped determine when people could use their water again will be visiting Charleston.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday will give officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an update on last month's chemical spill. Environmental Protection Agency officials will join them.

After the Jan. 9 chemical spill, the CDC created a scale that determined when 300,000 affected West Virginians could safely use their water. Days after a water-use ban was lifted, the agency then said pregnant women should avoid drinking the water.

State and federal officials have called for more transparency from the CDC about its conclusions.

Many residents remain wary of drinking or cooking with the water, though the nine-county region is clear to use it.


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