Rep. Capito Asks CDC About Inhaling West Virginia Spill Chemical

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U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is asking federal health officials for more information about skin contact and inhaling a chemical that spilled in January.

The Republican congresswoman's Tuesday letter asks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if inhalation or skin contact were accounted for in crude MCHM's safe level. CDC quickly created a safe drinking water standard after a Jan. 9 spill tainted 300,000 West Virginians' water supply for days.

CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said the agency found "very little supporting information" to create an inhalation screening level. The chemical's material safety data sheet says at elevated temperatures, eye and respiratory tract irritation can occur.

WV TAP, a state-funded independent research group, created a different standard eight times more protective. It accounted for inhalation, skin contact and ingestion.