Is a photo lab a safe work place for a pregnant mom?

A babyQ mom wrote:

I work in a photo lab with lots of chemicals. Is it safe for a pregnant mom to work with them?

The Kodak Company, who supplies a great deal of the chemicals used in photo labs, has specific recommendations about their chemicals and pregnancy. They say:

Minimize skin, eye, and inhalation exposure by using good industrial hygiene practices. These include the use of gloves or tongs (for use in tray processing), goggles or other eye protection, rubber aprons or other suitable protective clothing, and working in a well-ventilated area. Neoprene rubber or nitrile gloves should be used whenever there is a potential for skin contact.

I suspect the chemical pollution in the air from photo processing during your pregnancy could slightly increase the risk of childhood asthma as your baby grows up. We see that in big cities with similar high levels of air pollution from sulfur dioxide. Fortunately, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, loaded with antioxidants, seems to neutralize the negative effects of air borne pollution. Also ask your employer for a reassignment away from the chemicals if possible, although I don’t think it is a major concern if you take sensible precautions and eat well.

Mark Gostine, MD

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