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Tomblin Urges Federal Health Officials To Do More Lab Studies On Chemicals

Reported: Feb. 19, 2014 8:54 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 19, 2014 1:12 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is urging federal health officials immediately to conduct more lab studies on the chemicals that spilled into a public water supply last month.

The governor also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its partners for guidance on long-term health monitoring for the nine counties exposed to the chemicals.

Tomblin wrote in a letter to the CDC on Tuesday that more toxicology and epidemiology studies are needed on the chemicals. Scientists worked with limited animal studies to craft the standard they used to lift a water-use ban about a month ago. For four to 10 days, 300,000 West Virginians were told not to use their water.

Meanwhile, Tomblin said he is not sure about tapping state reserves to monitor people's long-term health after chemicals spilled into their water supply last month.

Senate Majority Leader John Unger has said Tomblin should use $10 million from the state's rainy day fund for 10 years of health monitoring. Unger said lawmakers could approve the money, but it'd be easier with Tomblin's support.

Tomblin told reporters Tuesday he would make that decision "down the road."

He is awaiting in-home testing results and research on the chemical's odor threshold and what levels are safe to consume in drinking water. The Jan. 9 spill contaminated 300,000 people's water for days.

West Virginia's $915 million last-resort fund is one of the nation's strongest. Tomblin's proposed budget uses $83.8 million from the fund.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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