CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Monica Wieland had been very careful not to do anything that could potentially harm her unborn son.
Wieland, 41, of Charleston, is seven months' pregnant with her first child, a little boy she'll call Nicholas, due in late March.
She's avoiding certain foods. She also doesn't wear makeup or use medicated lotions or shampoos because of potential chemical exposure. She opts for as many natural health and beauty products as she can.
Since the chemical spill last week into the Elk River and the West Virginia American Water supply lines, she hasn't been drinking tap water, either. According to a recent advisory from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, that's a good thing.
Wednesday evening, two days after the first residents got the all-clear to begin using their tap water after the chemical spill, the CDC and BPH issued a statement recommending to pregnant women that "out of an abundance of caution," they should drink bottled water until the levels of "Crude MCHM" are not detectable in the water anymore.
"I was a little bit alarmed for the ladies who maybe had started drinking it," Wieland said. "Some have had it back for two days. My concern was, well they don't know enough about the chemical. Is it safe to eat off a dish that's been washed in it or eat food that's been made with it?"
Although she hasn't been drinking the water, she's been to restaurants since the ban was lifted. Now she's also concerned about eating from dishes washed in the water and using it to shower.
"I had been doing everything by the books and made huge efforts to make sure everything is good," Wieland said, "and [this is] out of my control completely."
Because she has gestational diabetes, water is just about the only thing Wieland has been drinking, she said. Just hours before the "do not use" order was put in place a week ago, Wieland drank two glasses of tap water at a restaurant, she said.
"I was already freaking out a little bit," she said.
Will using the water have negative effects for unborn babies? No one seems to know. According to a list of frequently asked questions presented by the BPH and the CDC, there are no known studies that show that drinking water with MCHM below 1 part per million can harm a fetus.
The CDC and BPH say it's safe for pregnant women to use the tap water for cooking.
Still, Danielle Grant, who's six months' pregnant with a little girl, isn't taking any chances. Grant lives in Mason County and hasn't been affected by the water situation at her home, but her workplace, Buffalo High School, has.