Re: Preg techs & chemicals

From:Amos Brooks <>

    About those masks, are they really doing any good? There was a tech here
that was pregnant and she was running around all day wearing a particulate
    I can understand, to some extent the reason for the mask if she was
grossing. And, I certainly understand the need to protect one's self and
their unborn baby. I have 2 kids of my own and I was extremely protective of
them 'en utero'.
    A particle mask is really not much help for vapors such as formaldehyde
and xylene. For these (and other) chemicals you need specific chemical
filter respirators. These are really cumbersome and I'm sure no one really
would want to wear it all day.
    I think the mask she was wearing was probably doing her more harm than
good by preventing her from breathing fresh air (as though there is really
much of it to begin with in a lab). Also, possibly giving her a false sense
of security.
    End point ... masks are useless unless they are being used against
coarse particles. And even then they are nowhere near 100% effective. You'd
probably be better off taking an extended maternity leave, or really taking
the time to read up on the effects of what ever you are working with, and
red flag anything unknown. Use a super strong hood. And when in doubt ask
for help and let someone else work with something you are uncomfortable
with. On many occasions, I have told a lady I knew was pregnant "Put that
down! Let me carry that" or "Let me finish coverslipping, you go cut some
blocks". She has more at stake than I.
chivalrous AIN'T I ... (yuck),
Amos Brooks

> Are gloves, aprons and masks really enough protection?  You have a tough
> question and I really don't know what the answer should be.  Presently, I
> not know of any regs that prohibit pregnant women from working in a
> laboratory setting.   But we all  have choices in life and your tech
> the possible dangers of the chemicals  can make her choice.

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