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Is inhaling chemicals during pregnancy harmful?

Friday, 30 December 2005
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. I wanted to ask a question about silicone for caulking and pregnancy. We have 2 sinks enclosed in a cupboard and there was a bad smell coming from there. As it turned out, there was a leak in one of the sinks so the pipes have been changed. Around one of the pipes, silicone was used and then wiped off and then another odourless one was used over it. On the same day of application, as I was sniffing in the cupboards I had a nose irritation and felt a little dizzy so I did a pregnancy test, which turned out positive. Is it harmful for the fetus as I had nose irritation and what was the cause of it as an odourless silicone was used over that normal silicone on one side could it be it didn't get all wiped off? A week later I was sniffing again to check the cupboard again there was still bad smell from the cupboards and again I got a little nose irritation again. Is it harmful in any way?

A.  When we look at the huge number of toxic chemicals that enter the environment of industrialised societies, it is surprising that there are not more adverse outcomes for fetal damage. There are a few drugs that expectant mothers should avoid, and cigarettes and alcohol are known to be harmful for the fetus. Inhaled household fumes and those that are encountered in the workplace are unlikely to be harmful, but it is prudent for women to minimize exposure to any inhalant, food or other chemicals during pregnancy.

A.  When we look at the huge number of toxic chemicals that enter the environment of industrialised societies, it is surprising that there are not more adverse outcomes for fetal damage. There are a few drugs that expectant mothers should avoid, and cigarettes and alcohol are known to be harmful for the fetus. Inhaled household fumes and those that are encountered in the workplace are unlikely to be harmful, but it is prudent for women to minimize exposure to any inhalant, food or other chemicals during pregnancy.

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