Some Doctors Continue to Question Safety of Tap Water
It's no new knowledge that West Virginians are unsure about the safety of tap water, but with many doctors stepping forward to express their concerns, the question of whether or not the water is truly safe to use seems to be one that will have conflicting answers for some time. Amid reassurance from some doctors, politicians, and health officials, others are promoting a heavy atmosphere of skepticism.
Although the do-not-use water order issued shortly after the Freedom Industries chemical spill has been lifted, officials and medical professionals have offered little collective reassurance about the safety of tap water. Examples of what some doctors are saying and doing to keep West Virginians skeptical about the safety of tap water include:
- Advising pregnant women not to drink tap water.
- Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set the safe level for crude MCHM in tap water at 1 part per million. This level was based on limited scientific information, most of which involved studies on lab rats.
- Many medical experts have raised concerns that little is known about the long-term effects of MCHM exposure in humans.
- Local doctors throughout the state continue to see patients who have experienced adverse side effects after using tap water, including rashes and irritated eyes, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness. Many of these doctors encourage patients to avoid using tap water.
As is evidenced by the conflicting statements of officials and medical experts, as well as local residents, West Virginia's water problem has also become a social problem - particularly one in which there is no one definitive answer about the safety of tap water. Until more information and studies can prove that using the water is truly safe, it is likely that the air of skepticism will continue to hang over the nine impacted counties. Even if West Virginians were told that the water is safe, one must wonder how many would believe it. The short legacy of this spill - at least thus far - will be undoubtedly hard to forget.