The public is always invited to attend Kanawha – Charleston Health Department meetings, and Thursday's was no different. The questions raised in this meeting, however, were anything but routine.
"Should we be extending the caution to children who are up to three or four years of age? We don't know." That is the question on everyone's mind, including Dr. Raheel Kahn. He is a professor of pediatrics at the WVU School of Medicine.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, the executive director of the department said, "What I am going to do is take into account what Dr. Kahn has presented today and send it up to our partners at state and federal levels and ask for a response back."
The CDC is telling us that "scientists continue to recommend 1 part per million as a protective level to prevent adverse health effects." Many are wondering. why the CDC is only advising pregnant women to not drink the water until there are no detectible traces of the crude MCHM in it. Why are children and/or the elderly not being added to that list?
"We're all trying to do our job and we're hoping that the public can trust everybody," Gupta said, referring to the many agencies working to find the answers to many of our questions.
Dr. Gupta says the health department is relying on the expertise of the inspectors and other health professionals to put out recommendations. He said, "We're all working together on this. Sure, there may be some confusion, just like there always is."
Confusion, that is leading to a lot of frustration for those affected by the chemical spill. When it comes to drinking the water, he admits, "You gotta do what you feel good doing at this point."
To reiterate, Dr. Gupta wants you to know, if you feel more comfortable drinking bottled water, or giving your children bottled water for that matter, by all means, do so.
13 News is going to continue to work to find more answers for you as soon as we get further information.