Elementary schools in West Virginia have dismissed their classes or removed children from their classrooms to deal with the mounting repercussions of Freedom Industries' spill of MCHM into the Elk River, which initially cut off 300,000 people from their municipal water supply. West Virginia's Department of Education has assembled a "rapid response team" to deal with water-related issues reported at four schools in Kanawha County this week.


Students and teachers detected the distinctive "licorice smell" associated with the MCHM contamination, and and have reported feeling symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and even burning eyes and fainting. According to this report, the Dept. of Education's response team has no plans to conduct air sampling along with the water sampling that is currently in process. Instead, they are relying on the members of the team who are part of the Division of Air Quality to employ their "smell sensitivity training" to determine whether or not air sampling is warranted.

There are things being discussed right now that could have a huge impact on preventing these kinds of chemical releases from happening in the first place. If you live in the U.S., consider contacting your congresscritter to let them know where you stand on this issue.