Published: March 16, 2016

    What’s in Your Baby Formula?

    Whether you choose to breastfeed or use formula to feed your baby is a personal decision. If you do use powdered baby formula, you need to consider the safety of the water you mix it with. Tap water can contain a number of potential threats to infant health and proper development. Bottled water is no solution either, as it’s often nothing more than expensive packaged tap water, and it may contain estrogen chemicals that leach from plastic into water.


    A variety of micro organic threats can contaminate public water including parasites and pathogens capable of causing severe gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. Infants have underdeveloped immune systems and can become seriously ill or even die if fed formula made with water contaminated with microorganisms. A water filtration system with NSF Certified UV Filtration kills common waterborne microorganisms by impairing the organisms’ ability to reproduce.


    Acidic water from the Flint River corroded old lead water pipes in Flint, Michigan, exposing the city’s children to high levels of lead for two years. Lead exposure causes permanent neurological damage that includes lowered IQ levels, behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities.

    Even if your home has copper pipes, they may be joined with lead solder. As hot water corrodes lead faster than cold water, it’s important to mix formula with water from the cold tap and then heat it up, rather than taking a shortcut and using the hot tap. Pelican’s NSF-certified countertop filters reduce lead from drinking and cooking water and also come in an undercounter filter model.


    Adding fluoride to public water has been controversial for years. The American Dental Association claims fluoride helps reduce tooth decay and cavity formation, while detractors claim it has no significant effect on dental health.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, water containing high levels of fluoride can cause fluorosis, or faint white streaks and lines on both baby and permanent teeth. While not a health risk, fluorosis can be unsightly.

    Your baby’s risk of fluorosis depends on his or her total exposure to fluoride including all fluorinated water, water with naturally high levels of fluoride, any food or drink made with water containing fluoride, fluorinated toothpaste or mouth rinses, and, yes, most baby formulas. If your water supply has a fluoride level higher than 0.7 mg/L, switching to a low fluoride water source reduces the risk of fluorosis. Pelican Water’s NSF certified will also reduce fluoride from drinking water or a whole house filter option that will work for every faucet in the home.

    Other Threats

    While lead, microorganisms, and fluoride are common public water contaminants, they are by no means the only ones. Chlorine byproducts are possible carcinogens while weed killers, insecticides, and pharmaceutical compounds can also leach into the water supply. In rural areas, nitrates from fertilizer runoff can lead to “blue baby syndrome,” a sometimes fatal condition where the blood’s ability to carry oxygen is compromised.

    Many such threats can slip past public water treatment or contaminate private wells and pass into baby formula. If you have any concerns about how safe your water is — for you or your baby — call one of Pelican’s water quality specialists today and we’ll help you decide on the best solution for your family.

    Disclaimer: The information on this website has not been reviewed by the FDA. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water.