W.Va. official: Patients told not to drink water

5:39 PM, Feb 5, 2014   |    comments
Jonathan Steele, owner of Bluegrass Kitchen, fills a jug with cleaning water in the back of his restaurant in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A county health official in West Virginia says doctors are advising some patients not to drink tap water weeks after it was deemed safe from a chemical contamination.

Dr. Rahul Gupta of Kanawha and Putnam counties said Wednesday that some pediatricians are advising that children under 3 shouldn't drink the water. Other physicians are similarly advising patients on dialysis or with kidney or liver failure, chronic conditions or low immune systems.

The Jan. 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries in Charleston spurred a water-use ban for 300,000 people. Officials lifted the ban weeks ago, saying the water was safe for everyone but pregnant women to drink.

Two schools in the state closed early Wednesday because of the licorice smell in the water that resembled what was detected during the spill.

State schools Superintendent James Phares said some students complained of lightheadedness, itchy eyes and noses. A teacher who fainted and a student were taken to a hospital.

The schools were testing for the chemical and flushing the lines. No decision will be made about Thursday's classes until results return. The schools also have hand sanitizer and bottled water available.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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