Health & Science

Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

A Virginia Tech study says a chemical that spilled into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply in January stops smelling at a level 47 times stronger than other researchers found.
 
The group that discovered the lower chemical odor level questioned the Virginia Tech team's methods.
 
The Virginia Tech group said in a news release that it detected the chemical in the air with specialized instruments. It used a gas law to calculate the corresponding odor threshold in water.
 

Robb Kendrick / National Geographic

A feature article in April’s edition of National Geographic Magazine examines what America and other key countries are doing to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

The article comes as new regulations from the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are up for public comment. 

The article assumes that humans are inducing global climate change, an idea that some Republicans as well as the West Virginia Coal Association, still question. 

Wacky Weather

West Virginia American Water

Updated Tuesday, March 25 at 1:15 p.m.: 

Test results from sampling conducted by the National Guard in and around West Virginia American Water's Elk River plant indicate trace levels of MCHM are being added to the water supply during the filtering process. The results come from 42 samples collected--from various stages of the water treatment process--from Friday, March 21 at 6 p.m. through Saturday, March 22 at  6 a.m.

Results indicate raw water from the Elk River and settled water from post clarifiers (an early stage in the treatment process)--both east and west--are returning non-detectable levels of MCHM. However, results from east and west filters range from non-detectable levels to 0.60 parts per billion (ppb). Results from the finished samples, which have completed all stages of the treatment process, range from non-detectable levels to 0.53 ppb.

"PBC Judicial Forum"
Rick Neuhoff / Flickr

A former mine boss is asking a federal appeals court to toss out his conviction for his actions at the West Virginia mine where an explosion killed 29 miners in 2010. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been heavily criticized in their response to the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries and the water crisis that followed. Dr. Tanja Popvic, who represented the CDC in West Virginia at a news briefing in February, has resigned from her post as director of the federal agency's National Center for Environmental Health. Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette breaks down Popvic's and the CDC's presence here post-spill and the response to her resignation.

Gov. Tomblin's office (@GovTomblin / Twitter)

Child abuse and poverty prevention advocates are questioning Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s priorities.

Among the $67 million worth of cuts from the budget bill Thursday was about a $1 million reduction in funding for programs meant to prevent child abuse and child poverty.

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State health officials are seeking patient data from physicians who might have treated people affected by the Jan. 9 chemical spill.

The Charleston spill contaminated 300,000 people's tap water in nine counties.

Gov. Tomblin's office (@GovTomblin / Twitter)

Child abuse and poverty prevention advocates are questioning Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s priorities.

Among the $67 million worth of cuts from the budget bill Thursday was about a $1 million reduction in funding for programs meant to prevent child abuse and child poverty.

Governor Tomblin started the 2014 session with a budget that cut funding for programs like In Home Family Education, Family Resource Networks, Child Advocacy Centers and other child abuse prevention programs.

Alabam.gov

A state juvenile commission has a new name, a new chairman and an expanded mission.

In this report form Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia American Water president Jeff McIntyre defends his company's actions following the Jan. 9 spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. The water company has yet to change filters at their water treatment plant, although they say work begins on that project April 1 to address public concerns.

Department of Health and Human Resources

West Virginia officials have selected a coordinator to focus on eliminating health disparities for the state's vulnerable populations.
 
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health said it has named Taya Williams as coordinator of the Office of Minority Health.  
 

Researchers involved in a taxpayer-funded, independent water testing project in response to the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries began releasing findings earlier this week. The project, known as WV TAP, is currently attempting to determine the odor threshold for the chemical in question—crude MCHM. They are also investigating the safety factors applied by the CDC in determining how much chemical can be in water and still be called safe to drink.

Dr. Michael McGuire is conducting odor analysis panels to determine at what levels Crude MCHM can be smelled in the water. Results released Monday from an expert panel conducted by McGuire put that number at 0.15 parts per billion (ppb).

Researchers took time Tuesday to answer questions about the first round of studies that have been released.

Researchers involved in the independent, taxpayer-funded testing project known as WV TAP say results from a single expert panel show that Crude MCHM can be detected by an expert human nose when analytical methods used in testing the water indicate non-detect levels.

Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s got a rich history of young people involved in the science fields, many using rocket science to fulfill their dreams. A group of students from North Central West Virginia is hoping a rocket will also launch them to the very top.

There are five students in North Central West Virginia who are building a rocket to launch in the Team America Rocketry Challenge competition.

history.com

The History Channel featured a new show this year that focused on ginseng in Appalachia. According to Neilson ratings, the show, called Appalachian Outlaws, was one of the most popular on cable channels, averaging over 2.7 million viewers per each of its six episodes. There’s no official word if season two is in the works, and while some fans are hoping that there will be a second season, other people are hoping the show will just go away.


Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A tank cluster that leaked chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' drinking water shows few signs that it's on the brink of destruction.
 
Freedom Industries hit a state deadline Saturday to start scrapping its chemical storage headquarters. So far, crews have carved a small patch out of one tank to remove chemical remnants.

Near the beginning of February, public interest groups Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Mountain State Justice filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court against DHHR and DEP for not adequately responding to public concerns after the January 9 leak by Freedom Industries. In response to the petition, the two agencies now point to legislation passed in response to the spill.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County to be revoked.

The DEP renewed the permit for a class two (UIC), or underground injection control disposal well owned by Danny Webb Construction on February 6.

The permit allows the company to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years. 

Glynis Board / WVPublic

Ruth Haas and her family moved to Morgantown from Elkins a year ago and about the same time decided it might be cool to open a juice bar. A year later her juice bar and cafe, called Real, opened its doors to a welcoming community.

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drugs.com

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has introduced a bill that would force the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw the heavily criticized painkiller Zohydro, which has sparked a national debate about the abuse of pain medications.
 

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Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

The four-day West Virginia Girls state basketball tournament began Wednesday and many athletes and fans say they came to Charleston anxious about taking showers and drinking tap water.

After reading about the city's water issues since the Jan. 9 chemical  spill into the Elk River, which fouled the air with licorice-smelling water, those arriving from outside the spill zone are making their own decisions on bottled versus tap water at area hotels and restaurants.

Scott Finn / Twitter: @radiofinn

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today appealed the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deny West Virginia's request for federal assistance and emergency protective measures in response to the January 9 Elk River chemical spill.

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

West Virginia continues to lag behind the rest of the country in the number of younger people enrolled in health insurance through the federal marketplace.
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said as of March 1, 18 percent of those signed up through the federal exchange in West Virginia were ages 18 to 34. That's only a slight improvement from a month earlier and ties West Virginia with Oregon for the lowest percent of signups from that age group. Arizona, Hawaii and Maine were at 19 percent.
 

Bill Hughes

A bill to regulate the disposal of waste produced by gas-well drilling will likely be introduced by the governor in a special session.
 
Lawmakers who negotiated a version both sides could agree on were unable to get the measure passed before midnight Saturday, the deadline for the regular session.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

Crayfish are one of the most endangered animal groups in the country, but recently a scientist at West Liberty University discovered three new species--and says there may be more on the way. That's not a big surprise if you know Zachary Loughman. He's one of only nine crayfish biologists in the country and maybe the most enthusiastic.

“Any second of any day I will look for crayfish. Period," Loughman says.

He says Appalachia is the perfect place to research crayfish because it's such an ecologically diverse region.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The staff of The Legislature Today--news director and anchor Beth Vorhees, Senate reporter Ashton Marra, and House reporter Aaron Payne--give a recap of the final hours the West Virginia Legislature's final hours on Saturday.  And hear from researcher at West Liberty University who discovering new species of crayfish in West Virginia.

Diane Jeanty / WVU School of Journalism

We all have one- but there's a lot of mystery behind how it works- the brain, that is.

People who attended West Virginia University's Festival of Ideas in Morgantown last night left with a little more knowledge about how their brains work and also with an understanding that there's a lot about the human brain that we don't know.  

But this doesn’t bother one WVU neuroscience researcher who was the guest at last night's lecture.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A law office in Fayette County says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated state and federal law.

The Rist Law Office in Fayetteville wants the DEP to reverse a permit for an underground injection well the DEP granted for Danny E. Webb Construction Incorporated. Residents have been concerned about this site in Lochghelly for years.  

According to court documents, the Rist Law Office is representing the Natural Resource Defense Council, the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, the Plateau Action Network and citizen Brad Keenan.

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