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Pregnant Women Heeding Advice To Drink Bottled Water Amid Water Crisis

Reported: Jan. 16, 2014 3:33 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 8:59 AM EST
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WINFIELD, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Expectant mothers in the areas affected by the chemical spill last week are still being advised not to drink the water.

There are eight pregnant staff members at Winfield High School in Putnam County. Erin Crouch is 23 weeks pregnant with a second boy. She said all the women at Winfield are due between March and May, and it's become kind of a running joke at the school.

"Here at Winfield, you don't want to drink the water if you don't want to get pregnant, and you also don't want to drink the water if you are pregnant," Crouch said.

Crouch and her expectant coworkers are on high alert after the Centers for Disease Control recommended Wednesday that pregnant women in the areas affected by the water crisis drink bottled water until there is no trace of the chemical present in water.

Ariene Pauly is 31 weeks pregnant with her first child.

"It's been very uneasy.," Pauly said. "This is my first child. Even before the water situations, 'Is this the right food that I should be eating. Is this going to harm the baby?' "

There is plenty of water available to the women at work, but they still have many unanswered questions. Crouch said she questions whether it's safe to wash their hands or take showers now.

Several who were in areas affected by the water ban are still making alternative plans for showering and washing clothes, just in case.

Madison Reta is 30 weeks pregnant with a little girl.

"They tell you certain ointments and stuff can seep through the skin and harm the baby, so I've been kind of thinking about that, too. If the chemicals are on my clothes, is it going to somehow get on my skin?" Reta said.

Reta and her husband live in South Charleston and were given permission to flush their pipes Monday, but Reta said she still doesn't feel comfortable with the water quality at her home.

"The fumes were just so strong, I knew at that point I wasn't going to drink or even cook with it," she said.

Reta said she's not just thinking about her own safety, but the future of her unborn child. She said she thought she might be too paranoid at first, but now believes she is doing the right thing.

"Once they came out with the CDC alert saying that we shouldn't drink it, that just kind of gave me a little more affirmation that I should be a little more cautious and maybe I shouldn't use it at all," Reta said.

Some moms said it was frustrating that the CDC warning came nearly a week after the initial spill, and many moma-to-be even said when the water is deemed safe for everyone, they'll probably stick with the bottle.

"I definitely won't be using the water or drinking from the water fountains any time soon." said Pauley, who is expecting a girl in March.

The CDC maintains, despite the warning, it does not expect adverse health effects of the chemical at levels less than one part per million.



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