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He said he believes crude MCHM is breaking down into formaldehyde in showers or the water system.

Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley, heads the water panel that brought in Simonton to testify. He said he takes the scientist’s testimony “very seriously” and considers him credible. Unger will invite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration to address the committee about why they think Simonton is wrong.

Freedom Industries’ spill in Charleston spurred a water-use ban for 300,000 West Virginians, but officials have lifted it.

State officials believe the leak of crude MCHM and stripped PPH started Jan. 9. Freedom Industries has estimated 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked from its tank.

According to the CDC, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. It is colorless, strong-smelling gas used to make building materials and household products, including walls, cabinets, and furniture.

Breathing formaldehyde in large quantities can cause sore throats, coughing, itchy eyes and nosebleeds. Symptoms also are common with other upper respiratory illnesses, such as colds, the flu and seasonal allergies. People with short-term exposure are less likely to have symptoms.

According to the CDC, the risk of health problems is low when formaldehyde levels are of 10 parts per billion. The risk is “medium” at 100 parts per billion, particularly among the elderly, young children and for those with health conditions such as asthma.

Studies showed that people repeatedly exposed to airborne formaldehyde in the workplace produced more cases of nose and throat cancer than expected, according to the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.

A spokeswoman for Freedom Industries did not return a phone call for comment.

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Associated Press Writer John Raby contributed to this report.