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Safe Water for Mixing Infant Formula

Topic Overview

Check with your local water supplier to find out if your tap water is safe to use for your baby's formula. If your water is not safe or if you are not sure, you may use bottled water.

Boiling instructions

If you are not sure if your water is safe, you can use bottled water or you can boil tap water. Boil cold tap water for 1 minute, then cool the water to room temperature. Use the boiled water to mix the formula within 30 minutes.

Concerns about toxins

If you know that you have lead in your water, or if you know that you have fertilizer chemicals (such as nitrates) in your water, don't boil your water. As the water boils away, you'll have a smaller amount of water with the same amount of lead or nitrates in it. So the water has a stronger "dose," or concentration, of toxin.footnote 1 You can use bottled water instead. Or, if you have lead in your water, you can buy and use a water filter that is certified to remove lead.

Many public water supplies have a safe level of natural or added fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay before and after baby teeth come in. And some bottled waters contain a limited amount of fluoride.

Too much fluoride can stain children's teeth and may be toxic. If you have concerns about the amount of fluoride in your tap water, call your local water supplier to ask about the water fluoride level in your area. You can also have your water supply company test a sample of water if you are unsure of its purity. You can't remove the fluoride by boiling the water.

You can call state and national agencies to get more information on the safety of your drinking water.

  • Your local water supplier can give you a list of the chemicals they test for in your water and can tell you how your water is treated. Your water bill will likely have a phone number listed.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information about the safety of tap water. Call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, or go to www.epa.gov/safewater. The EPA can guide you to other resources as needed.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has information about the safety of bottled water. For information, call 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332), or go to http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm046894.htm.
  • You can find more information from your state Department of Health/Environment.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2009). Water on tap: What you need to know. Available online: http://water.epa.gov/drink/guide.

Credits

Current as ofNovember 7, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine


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