Study: Chemical that spilled in West Virginia could be more toxic than previous test showed

A new study shows a chemical that spilled into West Virginia's biggest drinking water supply in January could be more toxic than a previous test indicated.

University of South Alabama researcher Andrew Whelton released findings Thursday from crude MCHM toxicity tests on freshwater fleas.

Results indicate it takes much less exposure for the chemical to be toxic to fleas than a 1998 study showed. Eastman Chemical, crude MCHM's manufacturer, conducted the older study.

Whelton unsuccessfully tried to replicate Eastman's results three times.

He said the tests are far removed from directly applying to human exposure.

Whelton used a $70,000 National Science Foundation grant for that project and others. He led separate spill research for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration.

The spill caused a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.