(4-Methylcyclohexyl)methanol (MCHM) is the IUPAC name for the chemical used to process coal which contaminated residential water supply in parts of 9 West Virginia counties on January 9, 2014.
Other terms for the spilled substance are “MCHM” or “crude MCHM” or “4-Methylcyclohexane methanol.”
The 4 indicates the location of the methyl group (on carbon 4) relative to the position of methanol (on carbon 1) on the cyclohexane ring. Methylcyclohexane methanol could be methylated at positions 1,2,3,4,5,or 6. The specific isomer involved in this spill is methylated at the 4 postion.
A proprietary mixture of polyglycol ethers (PPH) was part of the chemical release of MCHM which occurred on January 9, 2014.