Question

“Hello. Thank you for you podcasts. I am learning so much information.  I am 36 and this is my 1st pregnancy. I’m in my 8th week of pregnancy and concerned about my work having negative effects.  I am a painter and naturally exposed to chemicals (though I wear all of my PPE) and also have to climb ladders and lift heavy things.  On a typical day I mostly paint with latex, but also repair walls, use stains on woodwork and use a wood shop with all of the tools.  I’m curious if there are more resources available to help my pregnancy and job be as safe.  I can’t seem to find enough information on this topic.  I have read limited information on wearing my respirator. The studies were done on mothers wearing it for one hour.  I often have to wear mine for 8 hours a day (though given breaks).  I’m concerned it is bad for my heart or maybe the respirator will still give me some exposure when I shouldn’t have any.  Is there a professional type of doctor I should be seeing?  Not sure what to look for.  My pregnancy seems to be normal or relatively easy so far, but I would like to do all I can.  Please let me know if you have anything helpful on this topic.” – Andrea

In a follow up email…

“I had my midwife write me a note for work saying no exposure to toxic chemicals.  My boss said I’d be responsible for deciding what are the toxic chemicals we use, because unless he looks up every product himself he doesn’t know first hand what toxic chemicals mean.  I decided to not be around any solvent based or oil based products.  This means I limit my exposure to only acrylic paints (previously known as latex paint).   I daily use my respirator with fresh organic vapor cartridges and the n95 or n100 prefilters when I sand or spray and avoid spraying paint if possible. I ventilate the rooms with a fan and an open window as I’m painting.  In a perfect situation I would use no VOC paint but I don’t.   I have been working with a coworker who takes the ladder work for me when he can and lifts the 5 gallon buckets since they’ve been getting more difficult to lift.  We are doing our best to modify my work and be safe, but of course it is still a worry that I shouldn’t even be painting daily.  I would hate to compromise my baby’s health for a job I love and plan on keeping until retirement.”

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