Gupta Says Exposure Standard Needs Revised

Apr 22, 2014

When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by the January 9 spill at Freedom Industries, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

Local health officer believes the CDC needs to adjust its chemical spill safe exposure benchmark.
Credit wikimedia / Wikimedia

Now more than 3 months following the spill, Kanawha County health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees no reason to adjust a benchmark quickly created off limited lab rat research.

Gupta argues the standard should account for ongoing exposure, even if it's at levels 2,000 times below what CDC declared safe.

Researchers say chemical traces will leach into the supply until the water plant finishes changing filters late next month.

For months, the CDC said its standard accounted for "short-term" exposure, but never conveyed a timeframe.

The spill  contaminated tap water for 300,000 people for days.