2 Chemicals Actually Leaked in West Virginia

Freedom Industries announces PPH also a small part of spill
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2014 8:42 AM CST
2 Chemicals Actually Leaked in West Virginia
In this Jan. 13, 2014, photo, Al Jones of the West Virginia department of General Services tests the water of the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A West Virginia water advisory may finally be over—at least officially—but what exactly seeped into the Elk River has only just been revealed. In addition to the crude MCHM, the company behind the spill, Freedom Industries, revealed yesterday that a second chemical, PPH, made up 7.3% of the leak, the New York Times reports. (MCHM is used to wash coal, and PPH operates similarly.) And though PPH is thought to be "somewhat less toxic" than MCHM, per the Times, the information on its toxicity "is limited," according to the CDC.

The Charleston Gazette adds that Freedom Industries is being tight-lipped on the matter, calling specific identity of the substance "proprietary." A rep for the CDC says it's believed that the water treatment system was able to wipe the PPH from the water. "However, the water system has not been tested for this material," she notes. "It is very disturbing that we are just now finding out about this new chemical, almost two weeks after the leak," West Virginia's secretary of state said. And the Times reports that residents still doubt the water's safety; "People are driving 60 miles away to take a shower," said one environmental engineer. (More West Virginia stories.)

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