Health + Safety

Pregnant Women in West Virginia Advised To Only Drink Bottled Water

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Health officials in West Virginia are advising pregnant women who live in areas where a chemical leaked into the water supply last week to only drink bottled water.

A spokeswoman for The Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention, Barbara Reynolds, told CNN Thursday that there are two prominent reasons because behind the guidance. First, because there has been such little research available on the chemical — 4-methylcyclohexane methanol — there’s little understanding of what it could do to a fetus. The second is because pregnant women’s immune systems are more susceptible to infection.

Reynolds adds that there is no reason risk the health of pregnant women by allowing them to drink the water that has been cleared for the general population without knowing 100 percent that the chemical is no longer present in the water.

The problem stemmed from the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol spilling into a river and contaminating the water supply.

News of the leak that affected residents of nine counties in West Virginia broke Jan. 9. Following the discovery of the leak, authorities told residents  to stop using their water for everything except flushing toilets, and to watch for symptoms of exposure such as skin irritation, nausea, vomiting or wheezing.

On Wednesday, independent testing of water supplies from a hotel and a home in southwest West Virginia showed the presence of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, but both samples tested at levels believed to be acceptable for consumption.

Head over to CNN for the full story.

(Photo Credit: Elena Elisseeva/ThinkStock)