Jessica Lilly Published

Poison Control Not Seeing Increase in Calls Since Flushing


The West Virginia Poison Center says calls have not increased since the ban on water use in nine counties affected by Thursday’s chemical leak was lifted in some of those areas.  The majority of residents and businesses affected by the chemical leak remain without clean tap water.

On Monday afternoon, West Virginia American Water began the process of lifting bans on water usage for thousands of West Virginians.

The ban was first issued last week when a chemical used in coal processing leaked from a Freedom Industries plant into the nearby Elk River.

Since then, the public has been instructed to call the poison control center with concerns.

Director Elizabeth Scharman says calls have been steady since the initial “do not use” order was first put into place.

As the ban is lifted in areas, Scharman says the center has received calls about an increased odor, but that was expected. She says residents should keep in mind that the flushing process will likely cause the smell to increase since the contaminated water has been sitting in the water lines for days.

The center is evaluating each call individually and suspects that some cases of skin irritation could be caused by constant hand sanitizer use. Scharman says excessive testing would be needed to confirm the source of the irritation.