More than 100,000 people in central and southern West Virginia have been advised not to drink the water because it's possibly unsafe. A 48,000-gallon storage tank along the Elk River is leaking a chemical called 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. It's often confused with other similarly named chemicals that can potentially be lethal.
To help avoid confusion, here's some information about 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, taken from the American Association of Poison Control Centers and CNN's previous reporting:
This chemical is used to:
-- Wash coal before it goes to market to reduce ash, also known as the "froth flotation process" of coal preparation
People can be exposed to this chemical by:
-- Skin and/or eye contact
-- Red or irritated skin
Little is known about the safety implications for 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, according to the state's Poison Control director Dr. Elizabeth Scharman because it hasn't been adequately studied.