Health & Science

Andy Todd

Food deserts: it’s more than just an urban issue. Hey, we all have to eat. This week, we’re bringing you an encore presentation from the Inside Appalachia archives about Appalachian food deserts.  In Appalachia, where green forests grow abundantly, food is scarce for many. Throughout Appalachia, grocery stores are disappearing. This week on Inside Appalachia we're looking at some ways communities are resolving to take matters in their own hands.

Drill cuttings dumped at WV landfill.
Bill Hughes

There are lots of federal regulations governing what businesses can legally dump into water, the ground, or release into the air. But the gas industry is getting around a lot of those regulations. The oil and gas industry enjoys exemptions from seven federal laws, including one that is supposed to protect human health from the hazards of waste disposal. Other states have passed their own laws regulating this waste to compensate. But it’s a looser system in West Virginia.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Brent Walker.
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin brought together local first responders, state health officials and substance abuse treatment specialists Tuesday to celebrate the success he sees in his district in combating drug abuse. 

Goodwin said his office intends to continue enforcing federal laws that prohibit the sale of narcotics, but now, he and his colleagues are also focusing on the treatment side, looking at ways to curb the demand for the drugs. 

401(K) 2012 /

West Virginia public workers could face another round of health insurance benefit cuts.

Kanawha County Schools

Sixteen schools in eight West Virginia counties will share more than $12,200 in grants for sustainability projects.

Drill cuttings dumped at WV landfill.
Bill Hughes

In the growing wake of the natural gas boom, West Virginia has been trying to figure out what exactly to do with waste generated by the oil and gas industry. 

artwork by Beth Crowder

This week plans for a new, almost $300 million wastewater facility were shared for the first time with community members in Doddridge County. Antero Resources announced intentions earlier this summer to build the facility, which will process and recycle wastewater produced from its natural gas drilling operations in the region.

Dollar Photo Club

U.S. District Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, just announced the launch of an organized effort to combat addiction problems in Marion, Monongalia and Harrison counties: an Addiction Action Plan. It’s an extension of an initiative that began in the Northern Panhandle late last year in response to a resurgence of heroin use in the region.

Ethan Wells

 The algae that turned the waters of the Ohio River a bluish green is dissipating amid cooler temperatures and rain.

While a health advisory remains in effect, an official with the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department says the river is showing clearing and considerably less algae.

Administrator Howard Gamble told the Wheeling Intelligencer-News-Register the river continues to be monitored by several organizations, including Ohio and West Virginia environmental officials.

Madhumuzik via Wikimedia Commons

There has been a surge in the practice of using music as a medical treatment during the past 10 years. In fact, Pennsylvania has the highest number of music therapists in the country, at around 400. But there are only eight in West Virginia. A new program at West Virginia University is trying to change that.

Ethan Wells

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Public Health issued a Public Health Advisory in response to the blue-green algae blooms in the Ohio River and in some of its tributaries.

water faucet

The city of Wheeling plans to boost its backup well water system's capacity by drilling two additional wells.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care has given first responders in the state access to its online registry.

Huntington Ohio River
Youngamerican / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia American Water says it has initiated a contingency plan for a temporary backup water supply to its Huntington water treatment plant in response to increasing algae blooms on the Ohio River.

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission notified the utility last week that algae blooms had been detected on the river upstream of Huntington.

Cabell Huntington Health Department
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

The Cabell-Huntington Health Department is set to make history in the state of West Virginia Wednesday, with the first needle exchange program. 

“The Teflon Toxin” is the title of a series of three investigative reports that surfaced this month. The series examines the 70-year history of DuPont and the no-stick chemical called C8 used to coat Teflon pans and other products.

A decade ago it came to light that DuPont contaminated water sources in West Virginia and Ohio with the chemical, and soon after that the chemical is toxic. The use of the C8 was phased out of production this year at DuPont’s Washington Works plant just outside Parkersburg. But this September, the first of about 3,500 personal injury claims is coming to trial.

That’s one reason the investigative series was just published.

wikimedia commons

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department and the city of Wheeling are asking residents to use caution after blue-green algae was found in water samples taken from the Ohio River.


According to a health department news release, water testing on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Pike Island Lock and Dam on the Ohio River showed elevated levels of blue-green algae. The algae, at high concentrations, can cause health problems such as skin irritation, eye irritation or intestinal illnesses.

Bill Hughes

The federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule this week that would regulate methane gas pollution in the oil and gas industry. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the Obama administration wants to see emissions cut in half over the next decade.

Marshall University Joan. C. Edwards School of Medicine

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has expanded its neuroscience program.

The university is creating separate departments of neurosurgery and neurology.

Joseph I. Shapiro, dean of the school of medicine, says Anthony Alberico will become chairman of the department of neurosurgery.

U.S. Attorney's Office

An Eastern Panhandle company has been fined $10,000 for distributing medical products without federal approval.

Rebuilder Medical Technologies, Inc. also must spend a year on probation. The Jefferson County company was sentenced on Monday in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

Rebuilder Medical Technologies had pleaded guilty in May to one count of introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce.