CDC: Pregnant women should have been warned about West Virginia water sooner


Ken Ward Jr.
WV Gazette
January 23, 2014

West Virginians should have been given clearer information that the 1-part-per-million screening level for the toxic chemical “Crude MCHM” was not a “bright line” between what exposures are safe and unsafe, a top U.S. Centers for Disease Control scientist said Wednesday.

Dr. Vikas Kapil, chief medical officer for the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, also acknowledged that government officials could have moved more quickly in issuing an advisory that pregnant women drink only bottled water until chemical levels were zero in the West Virginia American Water system.

In an interview, Kapil said that the CDC was working with very limited data and in an emergency situation, but that agency officials could have communicated the uncertainties more carefully to the 300,000 residents whose water was contaminated.

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