Pediatrician: Jackson moms should use only bottled water to prepare baby formula

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 7:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Those who live in Jackson are still figuring out how to juggle the challenges of the water crisis. And now, there’s a warning about why boiling water may not be enough in some cases.

Pediatrician Dr. Anita Henderson lives 90 miles outside of the capital city but she’s using social media to issue this warning to mamas bottle-feeding their babies in Jackson.

“Right now only use bottled water,” said Dr. Henderson.

Henderson serves as the President of the Mississippi chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She shared the consumer report via Twitter and explained to us why she doesn’t want moms chancing it with boiling water for those bottles.

“The thing people have to remember is that a baby’s brain doubles in size, the first year of life,” described Henderson. “So, this is when a baby’s brain is growing. This is when it’s most vulnerable to toxins and heavy metals or toxins.”

And Jackson has a history of concerns related to lead in the water.

“We want people to understand that boiling the water may kill bacteria and germs, but it doesn’t remove lead or heavy metals,” she added.

We sifted back through the notices that came into the newsroom and realized it could be confusing for moms. We found at least one notice that said to boil the water before using it for baby-formula preparation. A couple of days later, the Department of Health tweet noted that bottled water is preferred for making that formula. So, we asked for clarification. And received this statement.

“Because repairs to the city’s water system are not yet complete, the possibility of lead exposure over time from plumbing in some homes still remains. Our long-standing advice remains in effect, then, that bottled water be used by Jackson mothers for mixing baby formula.”-Liz Sharlot Director, Office of Communications for the Mississippi State Department of Health

We asked Jackson moms on social media how they’re handling their baby bottles during the crisis. One mom says she’s already having difficulty finding milk and now she’s adding being in long lines to pick up water...all while caring for her 3 week old.

“So we cannot take a chance, we cannot let our guard down,” added Henderson.

The consumer report also adds pregnant women, infants and children into that list of people that heavy metals like lead are particularly concerning for.

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