by Writer Team | March 21, 2005 12:55 am
Birth defects caused by
workplace pre-natal injury
Unborn children can be injured by the mother’s workplace exposure to toxic
chemicals during pregnancy. The following are frequently asked questions
regarding such injuries:
Q. I BELIEVE MY CHILD WAS HARMED BY MY EXPOSURE TO TOXIC CHEMICALS
DURING MY PREGNANCY. DO I HAVE A RIGHT TO SUE?
Over forty states allow children and their parents to bring a lawsuit for pre-natal injuries.
Q. WHAT CONDITION HAS BEEN LINKED TO TOXIC SOLVENT EXPOSURE
A child’s abnormally small head circumference, called Microcephaly has been shown to be in some cases a result of exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy, causing an interference with a normal development of the child’s nervous system. Such exposures include the inhalation of solvent vapors, radiation exposure, and certain pharmaceutical drugs. In particular, a solvent known as methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) has been shown to produce microcephaly in children.
Q. MY CHILD WAS BORN WITH THE CONDITION OF MICROCEPHALY;
HOW DO I KNOW IF IT WAS GENETIC OR CAUSED BY CHEMICAL EXPOSURE?
The answer to this question is complex, and ultimately must be determined by a physician Typically, this determination will be made by examining the following factors:
1. Whether your child has any recognized genetic syndrome;
2. Whether there is a family history showing a familial syndrome which includes as a symptom microcephaly;
3. Whether the child has physical features, which suggest that the microcephaly is genetic in origin.
Once all other potential causes have been ruled out, and it can be shown that the child’s mother was chronically exposed to MEK while pregnant, the child’s microcephaly will likely be attributable to the MEK exposure..
Q. WHAT IS MEK?
MEK is a colorless, volatile, organic solvent with a pungent odor similar to lacquer thinner. It is commonly used as a cleaning solvent in several industries.
Q. ASIDE FROM EXPOSURE TO MEK, WHAT OTHER FACTORS CAN
Microcephaly can also be caused by the following factors:
1. Maternal infection (such as Rubella) during pregnancy;
2. Maternal exposure to radiation;
3. Maternal ingestion of certain medications;
4. Maternal “recreational sniffing” of solvent based glue, paint or paint thinner;
5. Maternal ingestion of alcohol during pregnancy..
Lead Paint Poisoning
Childhood lead poisoning has declined dramatically in the U. S. due to limits on lead
in gasoline, paint and other consumer products. However, lead poisoning is still
affecting an estimated 890,000 preschoolers. Hence, about 4.4% of children
aged 1 to 5 may be suffering the effects of having too much lead in their bodies.
If you believe your child under the age of six may have been exposed to lead, have your child’s blood tested for lead. Make sure it is the blood-lead test and that you are told the actual number for your child’s blood lead. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a blood lead of ten ug/dl as a level of concern, indicating that you should take steps to reduce ongoing lead exposure. At higher blood lead levels, more aggressive measures are recommended.
See cidnetwork.com for information on protecting yourself and your family from Lead poisoning around the home.
Q. I BELIEVE MY CHILD MAY HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF LEAD POISONING.
DO I HAVE A CASE?
A typical case involves a child under six years of age with a venous blood level of 25 u.g./d.c.l., (micrograms per deciliter of whole blood) or greater. If your residence has tested positive for the presence of lead paint, you may have a case, typically against the property owners whose apartment or house contained the lead paint.
Remember: It is illegal for landlords to discriminate against families with children, sneak in waivers of liability or threaten with eviction which is retaliatory.
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