Safe water for mixing infant formula

The water you use to prepare your baby's formula needs to be safe. It is best to boil water and let it cool before mixing it into a powdered or concentrated formula.

Heat the water until it reaches a rolling boil, and continue boiling for 1 to 2 minutes. It may help to have a routine where you boil enough water for the day's feedings every morning.

Lead can leach into your tap water from lead-soldered pipes and from plumbing repairs and corrosion.1 If your baby drinks formula with too much lead in it, lead poisoning can occur. If you think that the plumbing parts in your house may contain lead, use bottled water to prepare formula or let the cold water run from the tap for at least 2 minutes. This water should still be boiled. For more information, see the topic Lead Poisoning.

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. But too much fluoride can stain children's teeth and may be toxic. Fluoride stays in water after it is boiled. 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.

Bottled store-bought water is generally not any safer than city tap water and may not contain fluoride. Boil and cool bottled water before mixing it with formula.

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

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Safe Drinking Water Hotline and Web site. Call (800) 426-4791 or go to www.epa.gov/safewater/hotline/index.html. The EPA has general information about safe drinking water and can guide you to other resources as needed.
  • Your local water supplier can give you a list of the chemicals they test for in your water, as well as how your water is treated. Your water bill will likely have a phone number listed.
  • 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.

Citations

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2006). Consumer factsheet on lead in drinking water. Available online: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lcrmr/fs_consumer.html.

Last Updated: August 6, 2009

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