Drinking Water Not Tested For Tens Of Thousands Of Chemicals

Drinking Water Not Tested For Tens Of Thousands Of Chemicals
January 24, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/24/265520673/drinking-water-not-tested-for-tens-of-thousands-of-chemicals

The fact that a second contaminant in West Virginia’s drinking water eluded detection for nearly two weeks — despite intense testing of the water — reveals an important truth about how companies test drinking water: In most cases, they only find the contaminants they’re looking for.

Freedom Industries earlier this week revealed it had spilled two chemicals, not just one. The second chemical is PPH, a mixture of polygycol ethers. It was combined with first contaminant — 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or MCHM — a chemical that washes coal.

there’s an important takeaway here for water companies that face chemical spills in the future: “Learn to not take the information that you’re given at face value.”