"Tests Said to Find Formaldehyde in West Virginia Tap Water"

"Tests on the water supply in Charleston, W. Va., a week after a chemical spill tainted the city’s water system turned up traces of formaldehyde, suggesting that 'there’s a lot more we don’t know' about the consequences of the spill, an environmental expert told a state legislative committee on Wednesday."

"That expert, Scott Simonton, a member of the state’s Environmental Quality Board, told the panel that he could guarantee that some West Virginians were breathing formaldehyde gas when they showered, news reports said.

He did not specify the level of formaldehyde found in the sample, which The Charleston Daily Mail reported was taken from the tap water at a downtown restaurant on Jan. 13. Nor was it clear why he was certain that city water remained contaminated more than two weeks later.

Dr. Simonton, an environmental science professor at Marshall University, in Huntington, W. Va., said the formaldehyde was a product of the breakdown of the leaked coal-washing chemical, commonly known as MCHM. The secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Randy C. Huffman, said the government did not know whether the formaldehyde was related to the chemical spill or whether it was an isolated instance linked to the restaurant where it was found."

Michael Wines reports for the New York Times January 29, 2014.


"War of Words Arises on MCHM Flushing" (Charleston Gazette)

"DEP Officials Unaware of Connection Between Formaldehyde And Spill" (Charleston Daily Mail)

"Tainted West Virginia Water: Formaldehyde in the Shower" (Los Angeles Times)

"West Virginia Official Says He 'Can Guarantee' Some People Inhaling Formaldehyde After Chemical Spill" (AP)

"West Virginia American Water Responds to Media Reports Regarding Formaldehyde" (West Va. American Water release of 1/29/14)

"Medical Monitoring Needed in Wake of Chemical Spill, Gupta Says" (Charleston Gazette)

"West Virginia Official: People Are Inhaling Formaldehyde" (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

Source: NY Times, 01/30/2014