Hospital admissions related to a major chemical spill in the US state of West Virginia have doubled over the last week despite recent declarations that residents could use tap water again.
According to West Virginia’s Saturday Gazzette-Mail, a total of 411 patients had been treated at 10 hospitals as of Saturday for chemical exposure.
On January 9, the state’s governor Earl Ray Tomblin urged West Virginians not to drink and wash with their tap water following a chemical spill in the Elk River.
“Nobody really knows how dangerous it could be. However, it is in the system,” Tomblin said.
The chemical spill contaminated the water supply for 300,000 residents and it took nearly five days for residents to hear they could use their tap water again.
According to Allison Adler, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the West Virginia Poison Center had received 2,302 related to the chemical leak by Saturday evening.
The contaminating source is believed to be 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM, a little-known chemical used to wash coal. The chemical had leaked out of a 40,000-gallon tank at a Freedom Industries facility along the river.
“I will never trust tap water again,” said Kimberly Elliott of Campbells Creek. “It breaks my heart. I don’t know what the future holds after ingesting all these chemicals.”
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