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Officials Say As Many As 108,000 Experienced Health Issues From Chemical Spill

Reported: Apr. 22, 2014 4:18 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 22, 2014 11:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A local health official and a researcher estimate 92,500 to 108,800 West Virginians experienced health issues from a January chemical spill into their water supply.

The estimates by Kanawha County health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta and researcher Andrew Whelton greatly exceed reports of people who sought care possibly caused by chemical exposure. In the two weeks following the spill, 533 people went to the emergency room and 26 were hospitalized with symptoms resembling chemical issues.

Gupta and Whelton had different, but similar, estimates for the spill's health impacts. They found nearly 30 percent to 40 percent of the people with health impacts didn't seek medical attention.

Skin irritation, rashes, eye irritation, nausea and dizziness were the most common symptoms.

The spill spurred a water-use ban for 300,000 people for days.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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