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Twists endure in federal response to West Virginia spill

CHARLESTON (AP) — After showing little initial interest, federal officials are conducting more animal studies on chemicals that sullied 300,000 people’s drinking water in January.

For West Virginia, the decision Wednesday was the latest curveball of federal follow-up to the Freedom Industries chemical spill in Charleston.

With little available research, several federal agencies were tasked with deciding when nine counties could use tap water again without health risks.

In the process, pregnant women received mixed messages about the water. Debate ensued about what the word “safe” means.

Emergency room visits spiked after some of the population was told to use their water again. Rashes, sore throats and nausea were some symptoms.

CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said the agency is working to improve its communication.

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