Chemical Use by Pregnant Laboratory Workers

Certain chemicals are known or suspected to harm fetuses or reproductive health of adults. Some examples of reproductive toxins are: anesthetic gases, arsenic and certain arsenic compounds, benzene, cadmium and certain cadmium compounds, carbon disulfide, ethylene glycol monomethyl and ethyl ethers, ethylene oxide, lead compounds, mercury compounds, toluene, vinyl chloride, xylene, and formamide. The first trimester of pregnancy is a period of high susceptibility. Often a woman does not know that she is pregnant during this period. Individuals of childbearing potential are warned to be especially cautious when working with such reproductive toxins. These individuals must use appropriate protective apparel (especially gloves) to prevent skin contact. Pregnant women and women intending to become pregnant should seek advice from knowledgeable sources before working with substances that are suspected to be reproductive toxins. These sources include but are not limited to the respective Laboratory Supervisor, Material Safety Data Sheets, and the UK Environmental Health and Safety office. Notify supervisors of all incidents of exposure or spills; consult a qualified physician when appropriate.

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