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Jeff Duff, a 42-year-old contractor from South Charleston, is drinking bottled water and taking showers at his brother’s house about 25 miles to the west, where the tap water comes from a different source.

“I’m not touching it,” Duff said. “I just don’t trust it. I don’t think they know enough about it to give us a clear answer - not enough for my safety and my kids’ safety.”

Duff said his self-imposed ban also applies to eating at restaurants in the affected area because he’s leery about residue left by the chemical on washed dishes.

The CDC relied on two studies of the chemical’s effect on animals to establish the safe standard of one part per million, but data from them is not publicly available.

“This is a dynamic and moving event. There are many things happening. And we are trying to do our best,” Dr. Vikas Kapil of the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry told reporters in a conference call Thursday. “There are uncertainties. There is little known about this material.”

MCHM is one of tens of thousands of chemicals exempt from testing under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act because they were already in use when the law was approved in 1976. A fact sheet of available data on the chemical says there is no specific information about its toxic effects on humans. Its chances of causing cancer and its effects on reproductive health are unknown, according to the document and the CDC.

At a busy Charleston intersection a few blocks from West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant, Barry Sean Rogers was recently staging a one-man protest with a sign that read: “Our water is unsafe. We are being lied to.”

Rogers, 51, isn’t using tap water at his downtown apartment until he gets some answers. He’s drinking and bathing in bottled water, and when he leaves his apartment, he turns the taps on to flush out the pipes.

“If I turn it on, it drives me out of the apartment. It still smells. It’s nasty. I get headaches, nausea,” Rogers said.

The company blamed for the chemical spill, Freedom Industries, filed for bankruptcy Friday.

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Associated Press writers John Raby and Jonathan Mattise contributed to this report.

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Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols.