The Center for Disease Control has issued a statement advising pregnant women in parts of the nine West Virginia counties where a do-not-use water order from West Virginia American Water Company was in effect for days are being told not to drink the tap water, even after the order is lifted in their areas. Pregnant women should continue to drink bottled water until the MCHM is no longer detected in the water distribution system served by the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant.

Dr. Stephen Bush, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for West Virginia University Physicians of Charleston, said many pregnant women have already been doing so. “We’ve been really telling our patients anyway, from the start, to air on the conservative side and continue to drink the bottled water until everything was completely cleared,” said Bush.

Dr. Raheel Khan, of the West Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is asking that the recommendation be extended to include children under 3 years old.

There is currently no information on the effects of long term exposure to MCHM on humans. Many people have reported illness, skin and eye irritation since resuming use of the water supplied by West Virginia American Water Company.