Pregnant Women in WVa. Should Continue Drinking Water Bottles, Health Experts Disagree on Chemical Spill's Impact Water Supply

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
January 20, 2014|11:42 am

Heath officials in West Virginia are continuing to advise pregnant women affected by the chemical spill to refrain from drinking tap water due to the unknown heath affects related to the contaminated water.

However many pregnant residents are upset that several days after the spill they were told it was safe to drink the water only to be told later that expectant mothers should just drink bottled water.

Jennifer Kayrouz, is 38 weeks pregnant and was told by health officials in Charleston that she was able to drink from the tap on Jan. 13, but on Jan. 15, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources issued an advisory for pregnant women that stated that until there were no more detectable levels of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol to utilize bottled water.

"It's very upsetting," Kayrouz told ABC. "I am not ingesting it, but I felt safe enough to shower in it ... and was still washing dishes by hand. ... I have a master's in public health, and I know people are very polarized on this issue, but I put my faith in our local health department that said the water was safe. I feel like it wasn't right."

7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was discovered in the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va., on Jan.9 which left more than 300,000 people in the region without access to clean water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that if the chemical is diluted enough the water should be safe to drink, but other health and environmental experts are not as quick to agree given the limited research done on the chemical.

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"I don't think that just because it's below that number, it's magically safe," Scott Simonton, vice chairman of the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, told CNN. "We don't know enough about the toxicity of this particular chemical to know what its long-term effects are and what the maximum contaminant level really should be."

The new warning only raises more questions than it answers and Kayrouz is concerned for other members of her family and in the community given the delay before the CDC issued its most recent warning.

"If it is not safe for me to drink pregnant, is it safe for my 55-pound daughter to drink or our pets?" Kayrouz asked. "It's very misleading. We got the green light, and three days later were told this one population really shouldn't drink it. It kind of flies in the face of my training. What are we supposed to believe?'"

 

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