UPDATE: Two WV agencies to hold chemical spill studies - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Two WV agencies to hold chemical spill studies

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UPDATE:

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will also be conducting an informational study in the Kanawha Valley.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director and health officer at the KCHD, will conduct telephone interviews for a research study.

Gupta said the study is different from the one being done by the DHHR and anyone who wants to participate (and living in Kanawha County) should call the KCHD at 304-348-6494 or email Administration@kchdwv.org.

The project is already underway, Gupta said.

"The survey takes about 20-25 minutes to complete," he said. "When we compile the results, we'll have valuable information about all aspects of the chemical spill, including how it affected people's confidence and when and how they first became aware of the spill."

Gupta said while these are two very different studies, they will "provide valuable information, and it's important to understand that these are two very different assessments."

The KCHD plans to share the results with the community within 30 days of gathering the information.

Originally, Gupta said he wanted to do the study in all nine affected counties, but the KCHD were unable to get grant money for that type of study.

Original Story April 3:

A study being done on health effects to the nine counties affected by the Jan. 9 Elk River chemical spill will be conducted next week.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will conduct the CASPER (Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response) study from April 8 through 10.

Letitia Tierney, Commissioner for the Public Health and the state's health officer, said the study has been a collaborative effort.

"During this timeframe, officials from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and volunteers from the WVU (West Virginia University) school of Public Health will go door-to-door in neighborhoods to survey randomly selected households about public health concerns during the spill," Tierney said. "Each selected household will be asked to complete a short questionnaire."

The surveyors will have officials credentials identifying them as public health staff. The CDC and WVU will make up about half of the 30 volunteers involved in the project, the health department said.

"The results of the CASPER will help state and local officials improve response to future emergencies, including effective communication with the public," Tierney added.  "Full participation of the household is encouraged."

All responses to survey questions are voluntary and will be kept confidential under West Virginia state law.