What is '4-methylcyclohexane methanol' -- the chemical spilled i - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

What is '4-methylcyclohexane methanol' -- the chemical spilled in the Elk River?


CHARLESTON (WVVA) - What exactly is the chemical that has left more than 300,000 West Virginians unable to use their tap water?

4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, is a foaming agent used in the coal industry to remove impurities from coal.

During his Friday morning news conference, West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre said that he had been advised by scientists that the chemical -- in its most concentrated form -- would require a large quantity to be deadly for a human.

However, the chemical can be harmful. Symptoms of contact can include vomiting, eye or skin irritation, trouble breathing and a burning throat.

The chemical has what has been described as a licorice-like smell.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVVA.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Audrey Sluss at (304) 324-0659. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.