Skip to main content

What is 4-methylcyclohexane methanol?

By Jacque Wilson and Emily Smith, CNN
updated 2:56 PM EST, Wed January 15, 2014

(CNN) -- 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:

-- Inhalation

-- Ingestion

-- Skin and/or eye contact

Symptoms:

CORRECTION
The Material Safety Data Sheet of TCI America was linked to a prior version of this story. However, TCI America was not the manufacturer of the product involved in this leak. We regret the error.

-- Nausea

-- Vomiting

-- Dizziness

-- Headaches

-- Diarrhea

-- Red or irritated skin

-- Itching

-- Rashes

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.

West Virginians told not to drink or bathe in water

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT