Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall announced they are pleased that the NIH’s National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has outlined the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) scientific studies it will conduct on the chemicals spilled into the Elk River from the Freedom Industries plant on January 9, 2014.
NTP plans to conduct a series of short-term toxicity studies. The tests will observe whether the offspring of animals exposed to the same chemicals as the Elk River spill show any abnormal health problems at birth. The research conducted will provide NIH officials with the fastest and most accurate understanding of any possible short or long-term health impacts of the chemical spill. Results from the studies should be available within one year.
At a meeting held in Washington, D.C. on July 23, Senator Manchin, Governor Tomblin and federal, state and local officials agreed that it was necessary to design and conduct additional scientific testing on the predominant chemicals leaked in the Elk River to ensure the long-term health and safety of all West Virginians impacted by the water contamination.
“I am pleased that the NIEHS has swiftly developed additional research studies that will help West Virginians regain confidence in our water supply and provide a clear understanding of the potential short-term and long-term health impacts after exposure to these chemicals,” Manchin said. “I look forward to continuing to work with officials at all the contributing federal, state and local agencies as we monitor and assess these research findings.”
“We are pleased that the NIEHS is taking the next step in determining appropriate protocols to better understand whether MCHM has any long-term health effects,” Governor Tomblin said. “My administration has worked closely with our congressional representatives and federal officials to ensure these important studies take place, and we look forward to a continued partnership that will help us find answers to questions many West Virginians still have.”
“The more we know about the consequences of the spill the better, and these studies are going to build on the important research that has already been done. Public health must remain our number one concern, and I’m not going to rest until West Virginia families get the answers they deserve,” said U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall.