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Nomination Summary for West Virginia Elk River chemical spill (N21408)

Nominated Substances: Crude MCHM, Dimethyl 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylate, 1,4-Cyclohexanedimethanol, Dipropylene glycol phenyl ether, Methanol, 4-Methoxymethylcyclohexylmethanol, Methyl 4-methylcyclohexanecarboxylate, 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), Propylene glycol phenyl ether

Nomination Date: 07/09/2014

Nominator: CDC/ATSDR

Rationale: On January 9, 2014, an estimated 10,000 gallons of crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) spilled into the Elk River just upstream from the Kanawha County municipal water intake in Charleston, West Virginia, and subsequently entered the water distribution system serving nearly 300,000 people. Because of uncertainty about the chemical levels in the water supply, the Office of the Governor issued a "Do Not Use" order at 6:00pm on January 9, 2014. The order instructed affected residents not to use water from the system for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and washing. The affected area spanned nine counties, including the Charleston metropolitan area. The order remained in effect for 4 days and was followed by a staged flushing of individual plumbing systems and re-use of the municipal water system. On January 21, 2014, the manufacturer reported that a second material was part of the chemical release that occurred on January 9, 2014. This material was identified as a proprietary mixture primarily composed of propylene glycol phenyl ether (PPH) and dipropylene glycol phenyl ether (DiPPH). The material was in the same tank and entered the water system at the same time as the MCHM. A review of hospital records for the time of potential exposure, January 9 to January 23, was conducted by the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health (WVBPH) and ATSDR. The review of 369 hospital records found that symptoms reported were consistent with known short-term adverse health effects of MCHM and with data reported by the West Virginia Poison Center. These symptoms included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, itching, headache, sore throat, and cough. A research effort aimed at providing meaningful information to public health decision-makers over the coming year would be most useful. The CDC/ATSDR believes that additional research by NTP will assist WVBPH in responding to public health concerns related to exposures that occurred during the incident.

NTP Principles: not specified

Agents and Status

The following information relates to the specific agent and may include history from earlier or later nominations for this same agent.


Agent Name: Crude MCHM

CASRN: 94-60-0

Agent Name: Dimethyl 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylate

CASRN: 105-08-8

Agent Name: 1,4-Cyclohexanedimethanol

CASRN: 51730-94-0

Agent Name: Dipropylene glycol phenyl ether

CASRN: 67-56-1

Agent Name: Methanol

CASRN: 98955-27-2

Agent Name: 4-Methoxymethylcyclohexylmethanol

CASRN: 51181-40-9

Agent Name: Methyl 4-methylcyclohexanecarboxylate

CASRN: 34885-03-5

Agent Name: 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM)

CASRN: 770-35-4

Agent Name: Propylene glycol phenyl ether