Physician on Jan. 16 Stated, Don't Drink or Bathe Until it Doesn't Smell

Updated 4 years ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
Huntington Bath Water Jan. 16, 2014
Huntington Bath Water Jan. 16, 2014

During a speech before Huntington City Council Monday night, Mayor Steve Williams, referring to the storm water start up program, stated that people do not trust government.

His statement -- though unintentional -- now represents the thoughts of a growing swarm of West Virginia American Water customers impacted by the chemical spill of MCHM.

JAN 16, AS OF 5:42 P.M., WCHS TV Dr.  Joe Matusic, a pediatrician. reports, if you can SMELL it, don't drink or bathe in it. Before bathing, use test patches. "I'm going to wait until I can't smell it anymore."

But, as of 6:30 a.m. Jan 16, CNN had an independent authority --- Test America --- to test water at a hotel and a private home.  According to CNN, the Tuesday morning Jan. 14 tests showed 0.27 parts per million at a private home NOT cleared for use and 0.011 parts per million at a hotel cleared for use. Yet, CNN stated that since the chemical is not normally found in water, even, the one part per million standard may not be "safe," as it was arbitrarily set by scientists having no human experience with the chemical.

The following Facebook site has been set up, too, for water consumers allegedly sick from the water:

Questions had continued since the state has no independent testing available. It's unclear what impact, if any, the CNN tests have on the outstanding water issues.

Huntington Bath Water Jan. 16, 2014
Huntington Bath Water Jan. 16, 2014

For instance, the WV Department of Health and Human Services has added an asterisk to its prior advice  that water is safe at levels of less than one part per million.

Pregnant women are now as a precaution to not drink the water until the levels are not detectable. Period.  The letter stated: “due to limited availability of data, and out of an abundance of caution, you may wish to consider an alternative drinking source for pregnant women until the chemical is at non-detectable levels in the water distribution system," wrote Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, in a letter to Karen Bowling, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.”

Why the concern? According to Dr. Frieden, there have been no studies on human health and limited studies on animals.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, has told WCHS-TV that “right now, we have to trust what WV American Water is saying.” But, should an “odor” be in the water or in the air, no one is going to feel safe.

He explained the health departments across the state “do not have water quality experts… We depend on West Virginia American Water to give us that guidance, and it seems like the guidance is, the water is safe, and we obviously have to take their word for it.”

In the WCHS interview, Gupta indicated he has “major concerns” about “long term” health effects.  “We believe it is a safe chemical, but we don’t know that,” he said.

Confirming an earlier report about water use after the lifting and flushing of the systems, Gupta said there has been  at least 101  emergency room visits  between 7 p.m. Monday Jan 13 and 7 a.m. Wednesday Jan. 15. He told the Charleston Daily Mail, 46 ER patients from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday complained of water related symptoms.  However, he explained that stress and not showering for up to seven days also can trigger skin irritations. Further, the reports are based on patient reported symptoms, not physician diagnosis.

Anyone developing symptoms --- nausea, skin irritations, eye irritations --- should contact the poison control center.




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