Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, told the West Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday that more research is critical to determining the long-term impact of January chemical spill that contaminated drinking water in nine counties. Gupta said research has shown that a lot of people ignored the do-not-use order and drank tap water after the Freedom Industries spill and that the chemical has remained in the system long enough to raise concerns about its long-term impact of the spill.

The state Bureau for Public Health is exploring the possibility of long term monitoring of people exposed to MCHM. There is not much data about short-term effects and none about the long-term impact. Gupta said it could cost millions of dollars over a period of more than a decade to get answers. It may be more than private and college researchers can do without federal help.