"W.Va. Chemical Spill Poses a New Test for Lawmakers"

"There are more than 80,000 chemicals in the United States catalogued by government regulators, and the health risks of most of them are unknown."

"This became glaringly obvious when, on Jan. 9, a clear, licorice-smelling chemical leaked from an old storage tank into the Elk River in West Virginia, contaminating the drinking water for much of the state, including the capital, Charleston.

What made the spill alarming was not just the reports of rashes, stomachaches and other ailments but the paucity of information about the potential toxicity of Crude MCHM, which is primarily composed of a chemical named 4-methylcyclohexane methanol.

The 15-page material safety data sheet for the chemical, which is manufactured by
Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical, uses the phrase 'no data available' 152 times."

Joel Achembach reports for the Washington Post January 19, 2014.


"Chemical Spill Muddies Picture in a State Wary of Regulations" (New York Times)

"W.Va. Spill Latest Case Of Coal Tainting US Waters" (AP)

"US House Passed Bill Ravaging Toxic-Waste Regulation Law -- on Same Day as W. Virginia Chemical Spill" (RT)

"In 2011, W.Va.-American Water Wanted Layoffs, Was Denied" (Charleston Gazette)

"How the West Virginia Spill Exposes Our Lax Chemical Laws" (Mother Jones)

"West Virginia Chemical-Spill Site Avoided Broad Regulatory Scrutiny" (Wall St. Journal)

"West Virginia Spill Prompts Drive for Tougher Regulations" (Bloomberg)

"West Virginia’s Water Catastrophe Reveals Gaping Holes In Government Oversight" (Think Progress)

"Boehner Says No New Regulations Needed After WV Chemical Spill" (Think Progress)

"No One’s Job: West Virginia’s Forbidden Waters" (New Yorker)

"West Virginia Water Ban Lifted Even as Residents Getting Sick" (Aljazeera America)

"Critics Say Spill Highlights Lax West Virginia Regulations" (New York Times)

"West Virginia Chemical Spill Shines Spotlight on Loose Regulation" (CNN)

Source: Wash Post, 01/20/2014