© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gupta Says Exposure Standard Needs Revised

Elk River Chemical spill

When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by the January 9 spill at Freedom Industries, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

Now more than 3 months following the spill, Kanawha County health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees no reason to adjust a benchmark quickly created off limited lab rat research.

Gupta argues the standard should account for ongoing exposure, even if it's at levels 2,000 times below what CDC declared safe.

Researchers say chemical traces will leach into the supply until the water plant finishes changing filters late next month.

For months, the CDC said its standard accounted for "short-term" exposure, but never conveyed a timeframe.

The spill  contaminated tap water for 300,000 people for days.

WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.