WVDHHR Releases PPH Testing Results, No Detectable Levels

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

PPH Testing Results

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says initial retesting of water after two chemicals leaked into the Elk River show no detectable levels of PPH.

The initial leak was reported on January 9 in Kanawha County. Investigators say MCHM leaked from a tank owned by Freedom Industries.

State officials say Freedom told them PPH also leaked, but they failed to disclose that until this week.

According to the DHHR, these results indicate no health concerns, based on the latest guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Vikas Kapil, Chief Medical Officer & Acting Deputy Director at the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, has said "An initial review of the currently available toxicological information does not suggest any new health concerns associated with the release of PPH."

To ensure the protection of public health, the interagency team plans to pursue more aggressive testing of water samples for PPH.

The team retested 30 samples drawn since Jan. 10 from the intake and outflow at West Virginia American Water Company's treatment plant. The methodology for testing for PPH, developed on Wednesday, Jan. 22, included a detection limit at 2 parts per million. That retesting, concluded earlier today, returned "No Detect" readings for all 30 samples at that detection limit.

To read the results of the testing, click the link at the top of the story.

The team plans to pursue additional testing at a detection limit of 1 ppm.

Officials also report that a review of water quality tests routinely conducted at the treatment plan show no sign of phenol, a chemical byproduct that should appear if PPH reacted with water treatment processes. Spectrometer readings conducted since the Jan. 9 leak have also shown no decomposition product of PPH or the phenol byproduct.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has approved the team's pursuit of testing as the CDC continues to research an appropriate testing threshold for PPH.

CDC officials have so far cited available toxicological information on PPH to report that the toxicity of this material appears to be lower than the toxicity of MCHM. The CDC also considers it likely that any amount of PPH currently in the water system would be extremely low. State officials remain in contact with CDC.

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