A second chemical was mixed in with the previously identified MCHM crude that leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries chemical company earlier this month and tainted drinking water in a large swath of West Virginia, a spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin confirmed to Al Jazeera Tuesday evening.
State authorities said that earlier Tuesday they had received a document from Freedom Industries indicating the presence of the second substance, a modified form of a chemical called PPH. The chemical spill into the Elk River prompted authorities to impose a Jan. 9 ban on drinking, bathing or even touching water from taps.
The ban was lifted Jan. 19, but residents this week were still reporting symptoms such as rashes or nausea after coming into contact with the water. Some also complained of a strange, licorice-like odor coming from taps and toilets.
Some residents are still refusing to drink the water, and authorities have warned pregnant women against drinking it until levels of MCHM are undetectable.
The West Virginia governor’s office had strong words for the chemical company, whose storage facility held MCHM, a material used in the processing of coal. The company on Tuesday revealed to state authorities that the modified PPH was also in the tank.