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Safe Water for Mixing Infant Formula

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 or, in most cases, you may boil the water.

Boiling instructions

Heat the water until it reaches a rolling boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute to kill germs that can cause disease. Let boiled water cool before mixing it into a powdered or concentrated formula.

It may help to have a routine every morning so that you boil enough water for the day's feedings.

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.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 camera.gif 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 www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/BottledWaterCarbonatedSoftDrinks.
  • Your state Department of Health/Environment is also a valuable source of information. Locate the phone numbers in the government pages of your local phone book.

Related Information

Citations

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

Other Works Consulted

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

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerThomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last RevisedSeptember 15, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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