Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Elk River spill in West Virginia included another chemical - PPH !

According to The Charleston Gazette (http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401210072) Federal and State investigators learned today, January 21st, that the spill from Freedom Industries into the Elk River included another chemical that was not previously identified. The "Crude MCHC" that leaked also contained a product called "PPH" that was also referred to as polyglycol ethers on the MSDS sheets they received.

The Eastman Chemical's material safety data sheet that was previously linked on this site shows that 4-methylcyclohexane methanol makes up 68 to 89 percent of the Crude MCHM, and includes six other ingredients: 4-(methoxymethyl)cyclohexanemethanol( 4 - 22%), water (4-10%), methyl 4-methylcyclohexanecarboxylate (4%), dimethyl 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylate (1%), methanol (1%) and 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol (1-2%).

The Chemical Safety Board has clarified that the spill of Crude MCHC is not synonymous with 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (I had been wondering about that) and it actually consisted of a mix of seven chemicals, as described above.

However, officials have now learned, 12 days after the spill, that PPH was also being mixed with the Crude MCHC.  The report isn't terribly clear about this but it looks like there is another MSDS sheet that has been provided which state the product in the leaking tank also contained "PPH" consisting of polyglycol ethers at about 5.6 percent. They report that there was approximately 300 gallons of PPH in the tank, though it is not clear how much of that might have reached the river or been deposited in the soil.

State officials consulted with West Virginia American Water Co. and believe that the chemical is likely to have been removed from water by the normal treatment process, but they are checking water samples taken during the first days after the spill for confirmation. Officials have also consulted the CDC but have not heard anything back yet concerning the toxicity of PPH.

Right - so what the heck is PPH ? Or do they mean PHP?  So confusing! 

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