“Frankly, the formaldehyde has me, personally, a little freaked out,” Simonton says. “What we know scares us, and we know there’s a lot more we don’t know.


“If we go out to the extreme, it could have been put there by Martians,” Simonton says. “But the most likely scenario is a breakdown of MCHM.”


The Simonton who says such intemperate and irrational things is, believe it or not, a professor in the College of Information Technology and Engineering at Marshall University and the program director for the Master of Science degree in Environmental Science in the university’s Graduate College – which should lead taxpayers to question the institution’s hiring practices and prompt parents to consider enrolling college-age offspring elsewhere.


The Simonton who says such intemperate and irrational things is also, believe it or not, vice chairman of the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board – whose other members might want to challenge his commitment to the board’s mission “to adjudicate environmental quality appeals in a fair, efficient, and equitable manner.”


Last but not least, the Simonton who says such intemperate and irrational things is  being paid for his conclusions by a law firm that seeks to profit from a suit relating to the recent Elk River chemical spill. That part is easy to believe.


Scott Simonton, Ph.D (Engineering), may be a professor at Marshall University and a member of the state’s Environmental Quality Board, but there are persons with  impressively credentials who find him lacking in chemistry.


Dr. Letitia Tierney of the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health dismisses his formaldehyde-phobic comments as “totally unfounded.”


Chemistry blogger Derek Lowe (Duke University Ph.D in organic chemistry) says the traces of formaldehyde Simonton claims to have found in the Elk river cannot have come from the chemical spill and, in any case, are on a par with levels naturally found in tomatoes, oranges, and human beings.


If the alleged expert from Marshall University doesn’t know what he’s talking about, who cares what Simonton says?




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