Pregnant or presumed pregnant workers are a tough issue. My experience is that if they indicate they want to stay in a laboratory environment, we gathered a list of the chemicals they used routinely and examined it for significant developmental toxicants. If there were or were not developmental toxicants the woman is counseled on the risks as we understand them perhaps given instructions not to work with chemicals identified as potent developmental toxins. I also like to provide information to the pregnant woman that high-dose single exposure events at certain gestational intervals can result in adverse outcomes even if the chemical agent is relatively non-toxic. This means no significant spill clean ups are allowed. If the woman is comfortable with the information, and wants to continue, it is her right and should not present an unreasonable risk in most cases. Is she is very nervous about the potential risk, my suggestion is to offer alternative employment because the stress response may add to developmental risk. If there is a highly potent teratogen with probable exposure and she is not willing to accept alternate duties or another work-around - then you have a real problem. If handled right it should never come to be a real problem. You also have to keep in mind that a woman may be pregnant and in a sensitive gestational period without knowing it. That is a good reason for hygienic practices that are protective for all individuals rather pregnant or not. Elmer Rauckman PhD DABT -----Original Message----- From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU]On Behalf Of Ralph Stuart, University of Vermont Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 1:43 PM To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Pregnancy policies follow-up questions Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 14:34:42 -0400 From: "George H. Wahl, Jr"
Subject: Re: Pregnancy policies follow-up questions We make a general statement as part of the Safety training in each semester's Organic labs. Folks who believe they are pregnant, or who plan to get pregnant during the semester, are advised to at a minimum take their lab book to their OB/GYN for advice. Any woman (we've not had any men, yet!) who feels nervous about the imagined dangers of the lab to the unborn, is given a chance to drop right away, and take it without penalty after she has delivered. For this and many other reasons, we switched to Micro-Scale experiments more than 15 years ago. Great savings in cost of materials, cost of waste disposal, time to do an experiment. The dangers of anyone becoming exposed to a large dose of any hazardous material is greatly diminished. Only sufficient chemicals for the class to do the day's experiment are available in the open student lab. We believe this is the way the "Prudent Person" referred to in the classic "Prudent Practices" ( now available on-line at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309052297/html/ ) would handle this important question. Hope this helps! George
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