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Twelve Days Later, Freedom Reveals Additional Chemical Was Mixed With MCHM

Reported: Jan. 21, 2014 11:03 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 22, 2014 9:01 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kallie Cart, Rick Lord) -- New information about the chemical leak that lead to widespread contamination of our water. We've been telling you all along that a chemical known as MCHM is what spilled but apparently there was another chemical in the mix, that no one found out about until Tuesday, 12 days after the initial spill.

Freedom industries alerted the DEP Tuesday morning that a chemical known as strip PPH had been added to those MCHM tanks.

Gary Southern, the president of Freedom Industries, said that Freedom had long used PPH as an additive and they had stopped using it, but apparently, they started putting it back in a while ago, but Southern didn't realize it until Tuesday morning.

Officials believe the amount of strip PPH that leaked was only about 5% of the amount of MCHM that spilled, and Amy Goodwin with the Governor's office says they have been told it is far less toxic than MCHM.

The governor's office says the national guard immediately started running new tests on water samples for strip PPH, only one test has come back so far, and it has shown no PPH.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and is awaiting direction from them, calling this discovery, "totally unacceptable" and saying Freedom will be held accountable for this and other actions.

West Virginia American Water released a statement late Tuesday night saying, "We met with the inter-agency team.... and determined that the department of health and human resources is best positioned to discuss health-related questions about this chemical. In addition, we have described in detail our water treatment process with state chemical experts, who ascertained that our current treatment process would likely have removed the chemical."

Here is a response e-mailed from the CDC Tuesday night to the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health:

"Toxicologic information on PPH is limited. Based on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by the manufacturer, the reported toxicity of this material appears to be lower than the toxicity of MCHM (LD50 > 2000 mg/kg for the primary component of PPH vs. 825 mg/kg for MCHM). Given the small percentage of PPH in the tank and information suggesting similar water solubility as MCHM, it is likely that any amount of PPH currently in the water system would be extremely low. However, the water system has not been tested for this material. An initial review of the currently available toxicologic information does not suggest any new health concerns associated with the release of PPH. At this point, toxicologic information about PPH is limited; however, CDC/ATSDR will continue to work closely with the State of West Virginia and its Federal partner agencies to search for additional relevant information."



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