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Asbestos and its effect on pregnant women

We know the harmful effects that asbestos can have on people who have been exposed to it, breathing in the airborne fibers, and developing serious and likely fatal health ailments decades down the road.

Construction workers, machinists, firefighters, auto mechanics and power plant workers who often work with asbestos-related products may be more susceptible to asbestos-related illnesses. So can the typical family who may live in a house built before the 1980s as many such structures were made with asbestos-containing materials.

Infants: ‘Not likely to be exposed’

This makes us wonder, though, about pregnant women. Can a pregnant woman’s exposure to asbestos affect the health of her unborn child? Medical experts have not come up with conclusive scientific studies related to this topic. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry declared that “developing fetuses and infants are not likely to be exposed to asbestos through the placenta or breast milk of the mother.”

Although this statement may be somewhat assuring, uncertainty remains. While asbestos exposure may not affect the fetus directly, it could affect it indirectly. A couple of scenarios come to mind.

May have indirect effect

What if an expectant mother develops lung problems or a respiratory disease due to asbestos exposure? If she has difficulty breathing, her expected child may be at the risk of receiving reduced oxygen levels. Or what if the expectant mother develops tumors in her stomach? This medical situation could lead to digestive problems for the woman, resulting in the fetus not receiving the proper amount of essential nutrients.

Regardless, people – including pregnant women – should avoid exposure to asbestos, which can be found in many parts of the home, including shingles, vinyl flooring and pipe insulation. If these materials get disturbed or damaged, there’s a chance that asbestos’ microscopic fibers become airborne, allowing them to be breathed in by a person.

If you suspect or know that you have been exposed to asbestos, please visit your doctor. And if your home contains asbestos, please hire a certified asbestos professional to remove it. You want your family to stay safe.

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