The Smell of Disaster: West Virginia's Latest Toxic Spill

Locus Focus
Air date: 
Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:15am - 11:00am
Short Description: 
The Chemical Spill that left 300,000 West Virginians without drinking water last month

In early January, 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used to process coal, spilled into the Elk River near Charleston, West Virginia. It turned out that little was known about the health hazards of the substance that contaminated the water supply for at least 300,000 people. In the wake of this disaster we still do not know the full story about what the longterm impacts will be on the health of the people affected by the spill.  

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Dr. Devra Davis, president and founder of Environmental Health Trust, about how the West Virginia emergency illustrates our inability to monitor and regulate pollution so that communities can be protected from toxic releases. According to Dr. Davis, "In the case of West Virginia, it's the smell that signaled toxic release into the water. But much pollution today has no odor whatsoever.”

Dr. Devra Davis has authored a number of popular books, including When Smoke Ran Like Water, a National Book Award Finalist, The Secret History of the War on Cancer and Disconnect—The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation which was awarded the Nautilus silver medal award for courageous investigation.   


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