Jan 14, 2014

Drink the water?

(See my update below after calling EPA)

 Check out this great article written by Ken Ward, entitled How do they know water's safe at 1ppm?http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401130090

The above article led me to give American Water a call last night to ask them if they think  my water is safe to drink now that I've done the flush per their instructions. They said it is, and I asked how they know that, and the guy said he doesn't know, hasn't been given the current concentration of MCHM in our water. He gave me the number for the EPA. I called them and they don't open 'till 10AM today. I'm calling them back at 10. 

It's just, there isn't any research out there that explains why 1ppm is a safe level for this particular chemical. The only research on it was done by the company who produces the chemical, and wasn't published in any peer-reviewed journal. Research that isn't peer-reviewed should never be used to make decisions on human health; that's just a no brainer. 

As it is, we are using the water right now for some things... used it to wash some towels... I guess I'm going to take a shower in it, because I can't imagine an alternative. Don't want to use it on my dishes just yet. I think I'll wash them with the clean jug of water we brought home from Bryan's mom's tap. We're brushing our teeth with and drinking bottled water, using purchased ice. 

We ordered a new filter for our fridge last night (they're sold out in all stores around here), and when that comes in I guess we'll consider the filtered water drinkable? I'm still not sure. 

Seeing that Cincinnati stopped sucking in Ohio River water for the next few days due to our flush so far upstream from them of course doesn't help my confidence in our water here about 2 miles from the affected water plant. They said the concentration in Huntington in the Ohio River is close to 1 part per BILLION, and I can only imagine how low it is in Cincinnati--probably undetectable. I would do the same thing if I were responsible for water down there though. Just wish I didn't have to deal with being expected to DRINK it at ~1 part per million.

**update after calling EPA hotline**

Waited about 20 minutes to reach an operator on the EPA hotline, which is neither surprising nor bothersome to me. When I got an operator, I stated that I live in Charleston, West Virginia, and would like to know if my water is safe to drink now that I've gone through the proper flushing procedures recommended by American Water. They said they are a national hotline and do not have local data. They further stated that they're surprised that American Water would recommend I call them for this information, as they do not provide local water quality data. After checking with others around the office, the operator stated that if American Water told us it's safe to drink then it must be at the 1ppm level.

So I asked how they arrived at the conclusion that 1ppm is safe for drinking. They said it's based on their standard. I asked if their standard is based on the one lethal dose study that was conducted by Eastman and apparently never published in a peer-reviewed journal. And if this is the case, how do I really know my water is safe to drink?

They took my phone number and email address and said they would “Reach out to the subject matter” and call me back. 


Lisa A. DeBarr said...

You raise some very important questions. They need answered.

Elana Cooper said...

Since my water wasn't effected I cant complain but I can say that MCHC is not just used in coal processing its in air freshners and you've probably been exposed to way more than 1 ppm. Ofcouse I wouldn't drink air freshner. As far as there not being "enough" specific research on MCHC the class of drugs it belongs to have been tested be it only in rats and shows very little toxcity.I don't say this to in anyway approve or defend the horrendous behavior of the water company but to try and give a small bit of peace of mind just to let people know that they've already been exsposed to doses way more than 1 ppm.

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