The water contamination accident in West Virginia's Elk River left hundreds of thousands of residents scared, without water and with no information. No data existed on the chemical MCHM or it's toxicity to humans. Many people were told the water was safe to drink, only to experience detrimental effects from consuming it or even just being in the same room with fumes.
Once the do-not-use ban was lifted, federal and state officials said they didn't feel comfortable saying the water was "safe" to drink. Instead, they told the public the water was "useable for every purpose" but specifically avoided calling it safe.
So what do water contamination injuries look like? A few cases made public in the days after the spill have helped the public identify possible effects of the chemical:
- A 29-year-old woman with muscular dystrophy experienced diarrhea and stomach cramps when water was administered by feeding tube directly after the spill.
- At Riverside High School, a science teacher and several students collapsed after being exposed to fumes coming out of water taps.
- A woman living 25 miles northeast of the spill site experienced a severe rash at the sites of contact after showering with the water.
- A 2-year-old girl was burned after taking a bath in the water.
Nearly 700 people called in to the West Virginia Poison Control Center with complaints of stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, as well as skin and eye irritations. All total, about 1,500 people out of the 300,000 affected reported reactions or showed up in local emergency rooms after the spill. The long-term effects of the spill, however, are still unknown.
Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn can help you with all kinds of personal injury claims in West Virginia, from car, motorcycle, or trucking accidents, industrial accidents, medical malpractice and more. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.