Pregnant women who are exposed to solvents on the job may be more likely to have children with autism, a recent US study suggests, Reuters reports.
16 agents have been linked to neurological or congenital abnormalities in children. These agents included medicines, metals, pesticides, anesthetics, asphalt, brake fluid, plastics and polymers, radiation, cleaners/disinfectants and solvents (including paint chemicals and degreasers) as well as other chemicals.
Mothers exposed to any solvents were 50% more likely to have a child with autism than women without this exposure, the study finds. Greater solvent exposure was associated with an 85% higher autism risk.
Researchers used data on work histories for 750 mothers and 891 fathers to assess the frequency and intensity of any occupational exposure before and during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, talk to your employer to find out what solvents are used in your workplace,” said Erin McCanlies, lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, West Virginia.
One limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data on specific solvents, making it hard to advise parents on the precise products they need to avoid, McCanlies said.