Birth defects linked to solvent exposures

Exposure to organic solvents during pregnancy increases the risk of certain types of birth defects, a new study indicates. Researchers found mothers with greater exposure were 4 to 12 times more likely to have babies with oral clefts than mothers with less exposure. Metabolites of two large classes of organic solvents - glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents - were linked to occupational use of cleaners and cosmetics in jobs such as hairdressers, chemists and nurses. Exposures at work are commonplace as solvents are present in many paints, adhesives, glues, coatings and are used as degreasing and cleaning agents. They also are used to produce dyes, polymers, plastics, textiles, printing inks, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals. This case-control study enrolled women in the second trimester of pregnancy in Brittany, France, from 2002-2006. The women were asked about their contact with 11 classes of products containing certain solvents from work, home or hobbies and about their occupation. They also provided a urine sample that was tested for 10 metabolites of glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents. The authors assessed exposures three ways: self-reported by the women, the tasks the women performed at work and levels of metabolites measured in the urine samples. Using either self-reporting or job classification, the more a pregnant women was exposed to solvents the more likely it was that her baby would have certain birth defects. Women who reported regular exposure to solvents were four times more likely to have a baby with an oral cleft compared to women who did not report regular exposure. Using job classifications, exposed women were 12 times more likely to have a baby with an oral cleft as compared to unexposed women.

Source : Cordier, S, R Garlantézec, L Labat, F Rouget, C Monfort, N Bonvallot, B Roig, J Pulkkinen, C Chevrier and L Multigner. Exposure during pregnancy to glycol ethers and chlorinated solvents and the risk of congenital malformations. Epidemiology, volume 23, number 6 pages 806-12, 2012. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/2012/10/2012-1207-solvents-pregnancy-raises-birth-defects-risk/ 

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