[Health] Pregnant women in the workshop

Can anyone direct me to health and safety articles referring to
pregnant women in the workshop. I have the Charles Lewton-Brain book
on safety and it basically says if possible leave the workshop. The
substances I am most concerned with are ammonia, easyflo flux fumes
and zapon lacquer fumes as well as polishing dust from copper,
pewter and alpaka.


Laura, I had two difficult pregnancies and am sorry to report that
both my doctor’s and obstetrical specialist’s advice was the same as
the Health and Safety report reccomendations. I quit all work
involving anything the slightest bit toxic during the four years I
was expecting my first to when my second was a year old. I took up
a line of production wirework and took it to a high level. I feel
it will now be an asset to me going back to more traditional
silversmithing. However, have since been told that all the metal
dust from filing metal wire wasn’t good either. No matter what I
should have been wearing a mask. I regret that now. That would be
my advice. Try to take up something short-term less risk and use
safety equipment anyway. Congratulations on your expected child.
-Naomi in Saskatchewan

Hello Laura! My girlfriend is pregnant… since september 2000! She
hasn’t been pregnant only four months between the two pregnancies…
more busy in the baby shop than in the work shop…hehehe…

Well, we didn’t stop working because of that, but we were just
extremely careful. You basically have to stay away from all
chemicals, or have sufficient protection, and more specifically, an
excellent mask, not those cheap things you buy 3$ for a pack of 5
that you end up with as much buffing compound in the nose as if you
didn’t have any, but one that protects your face and has filters. It
has to protect you from gas fumes, buffing compound, and all those
mysterious colorful fumes that turn you dizzy when you breathe too
much of it ;). Seriously, be careful as everything YOU breathe, your
baby breathes too. And last thing of all: AVOID neutralizing the
pickle pot!!! Mucho dangerous, even with a mask (paranoia is good
when you’re pregnant). As for the perfect mask to use, in the past
year, there were a lot of posts regarding safety masks, so look in
the archives.

Have a nice pregnancy!
Benoit Hamel

Luara Well I am not a radical nut on this kind of stuff, but I do
believe in common sense safety. If you are pregnant, then you need to
be triple safe. That baby is so sensitive to things that might get to
it VIA your bloodstream and such. It lives off your body and what
goes in it. So use extreme common sense. I would not say stay away
from things but would say, make sure you do take any kind of
precautions possible not only for your sake but that baby’s. If an
adult should not breath it then that should go triple for the baby,
it’s system is not ready to fight off contaminants. And if you are
not sure, then do the extra effort to take all safety measures. At
least for the baby’s sake a lot of precaution here will not kill you
or the baby. I in no way want to scare you, and you should not be
scared, but like I said caughtous, and think safety for them tiny
little lungs that you are responsible for. JUST USE GOOD COMMON
SENSE! Hope this helps Clint D

Laura For 23 years I’ve had my own workshop. A rule of thumb for me
is “If it smells bad/strange it probably is bad.” A lot of stuff
that we use in our jewelry and related metal shops can be very
toxic, and destroy lots of brain cells. Over time these things can
poison our bodies and generally weaken the immune and other systems.
I think you should be especially careful during your pregnancy. Use
a very good respirator (always) and try to evacuate fumes the best
you can. Be extra cautious. Good luck. JS Khalsa

End of forwarded message

Hi Just in case anyone doesn’t think that you breath anything that
you file, sand, especially with discs, polish, do this; get all
different materials that you work on and set a light up, put an
optivisor or magnifyer on, and work, and watch the dust fly. Why
would you want to breath all that in, just because you can’t notice
it with the naked eye. And just in case you don’t know how great dust
collectors work for one person in the $300 range, they take all the
dust, if you work right at the intake. It pays to set up your intake
correctly to be right on the work, get inventive. Don’t let the dust
and fume control you, you control it If your motor is 3/4 hp(the 3/4
delta is awesome) or more, you put the motor behind a sound baffle,
or in another room or outside, and run duct to your spot, very simple
and effective. Keep your collector spotless, check the cfm(suction),
just with your hand, when it is full and when it is cleaned, huge
difference!!! If there is fume, you must have intake and outake of
air to the shop, no fume must linger in the shop, and of course fume
penetrates to other floors


Hello Laura (and all!) I just am catching up on posts here and saw
this one. There was a great string of dialogue in Orchid Archives
back in July 2000 - under the subject: “Pregnancy Concerns” and also
in April 1999 - under the subject header: “Safety in Pregnancy”.

Also, I wanted to direct you to an article titled “Business and
Babies” by Suzanne Wade back in Sept. 2000. It featured several
Orchid members. You can read it online at the Lapidary Journal site:

It seems that Naomi had the same experience as I did - of diving
into a “lower tech” aspect of our work for those pregnancy and early
years. I am very happy to currently be “complicating” my life with
more complex pieces now, but I have no regrets to those years of
stepping back and setting major limitations as to the direction of my
work. Children are definitely a priority.

For me, the kids were my “sculptures” at that point in time and it
was very worthwhile to make the life changes necessary to have and
raise healthy children. So, yes, I encourage you to eat well and
think well . . to make sensible choices. . . . and I’m sure all will
be well!

Best wishes to you. . .

Just a few more thoughts on pregnancy, and how toxic materials work.
The most critical time in pregnancy for damage is at the third week,
when most women don’t even know they’re pregnant. The lesson: start
your precautions when you are trying to get pregnant. Only those
molecules that cross the membrane between the mother’s bloodstream
and the fetal bloodstream-that’s the placenta-will cause a problem.
That’s why little things like viruses (viri) are bad, but big one
are not(they can’t cross). Lesson: The best blood flow comes from
laying on your left side when you rest=nutrition to placenta. As for
the guy who was surprised his wife was pregnant except for 4 months
in 2000. Lesson: What’s your story, sparky? I had a patient who
missed two days and had two sets of twins. I hope you change all the
diapers. Specialists in fetal-maternal medicine are called
perinatologists. I would check with the American College of
Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to find out who is the one who
knows the most about fetal toxicology. This might be a new area of
research. These guys always like to write papers. Kiss those babies.