When up to 7,500 gallons of toxic 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia, leaving 300,000 people without tap water for around a week, former miner Joe Stanley was well prepared. He hadn’t been drinking the water for years.
Stanley, 64, worked at West Virginia's Marrowbone Coal Mine from 1981 to 1996. His employer was Massey Energy, the same company responsible for the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010 that killed 29 miners and which was bought out in 2011.
Stanley says he lost his job after a conflict with management, when he, as union president, demanded an inquiry into certain chemicals that were being used in the mine. He claims that mine workers, particularly electricians and pinners, were getting sick.