A new study took a look at occupational hazards for pregnant women in various fields and found that pregnant women exposed to organic solvents at work have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with a heart defect.
Which fields exposed women to these chemicals? Salon workers such as hairdressers and manicurists have high exposures as do women working in the factories that make these chemicals. The study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, asked 5,000 women about the type of work they were doing during their pregnancy and in the few months leading up to it. When they compared these results to pregnancy outcomes, they found the risk of newborn heart defects was almost double for women who were exposed to organic solvents at work.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in at Atlanta. Researchers noted that exposure to organic solvents around the time of conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy appeared to pose the greatest risk.
Overall, the individual risk is still very small. But it is certainly something to keep in mind - and talk with your doctor about - if you work in these fields and are pregnant or trying to conceive.