Emergency rooms surrounding the site of a West Virginia chemical spill are treating scores of patients with symptoms related to exposure to chemical-tainted water, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.
The influx of patients reporting related symptoms comes the same day that West Virginia American Water lifted a “do-not-use” order for many customers living in affected areas.
“What we are seeing when we talk to our partners in hospital systems are people with skin and eye irritation, rashes, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea,” Rahul Gupta, health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said.
The Daily Mail reports:
[Gupta] said 101 patients visited area emergency rooms in the 36-hour span ending at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, reporting symptoms related to exposure to tainted water. He said 46 of those allegedly water-related emergency room visits occurred between 7 p.m. Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning…. Gupta said many of those patients reported using water that was deemed safe to use by West Virginia American Water. As of Wednesday afternoon, the “do not use” order has been lifted for 51,600 of the 100,000 customers affected by the chemical spill.
Reports of illnesses have left West Virginians concerned that the “do-not-use” lift was premature, with many taking their frustrations to West Virginia American Water’s Facebook page.
A representative for West Virginia American Water did not return calls for comment.
On Thursday, a chemical storage tank leaked thousands of gallons of crude 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River, just above a water treatment plant that serves hundreds of thousands of residents. The site of the spill, administered by Freedom Industries Inc., hadn’t been inspected since 1991.