Maranda Demuth, spokeswoman for Eastman, said Thursday the lawsuit had no merit and that the company isn't aware of any studies showing the chemical is carcinogenic. Demuth wouldn't provide copies of any of the company's studies or data about the potential impacts of MCHM to the Gazette during the day Thursday, but the company released them late Thursday night.
"Eastman goes to great lengths to ensure our commercial products and facilities meet or exceed regulatory standards. The EPA reviewed and approved the product for its intended use. Since the product is intended for industrial use, the EPA did not require additional testing," Demuth said in a statement.
The lawsuit also claims the water company should have recognized the risk of having the chemical company nearby.
West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said the water company is focused on restoring water to its customers and wouldn't comment on pending litigation.
Neither Southern nor a representative of Freedom Industries could immediately be reached for comment. Company officials have not commented beyond a press conference by Southern the day after the leak was reported.
The federal lawsuit, which is assigned to U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver, asks for class-action status.
It was filed by Vantap LLC, which operates Vandalia Grill; Georgia Hamra, who says she had to relocate to a hotel outside of the area after the chemical leak; Crystal Goode, a Charleston resident and mother of three minor children exposed to the contaminated water; John Sarver, who operates Mousie's Car Wash; Colours Salon and Boutique LLC; and Delegate Michael Manypenny, D-Taylor, who is not a West Virginia American Water customer, but claims he was exposed to the contaminated water.
David Barney, Kevin Thompson, P. Rodney Jackson, all of Charleston, and Van Bunch, of Phoenix, represent the plaintiffs.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.