Pregnancy safety

Hi- I work at a small jewelry shop where I do some small soldering
and polishing jobs. I work most of the day at the computer at a desk
that is only about 4 feet from one of the jewelers. We don’t have
soldering hoods in our shop. My husband and I are hoping to become
pregnant soon, but I am concerned about being exposed to unhealthy
chemicals. Does anyone have experience with this, any advice would

in Michigan where it is starting to feel like winter…again

My wife and I just had a baby 8 months ago, so we kind of just went
through this. First, if you are anything like my wife, you won’t
feel good enough to go to the shop anyway. She was sick 9 of the 9
months. My wife would not even be in the room if I was soldering or
using any chemicals. Everything you breath in goes into your lungs,
into your blood and into your baby. Why take a chance? Do what you
have to do to keep your baby safe.

One a side note, my wife carves gem stones, she tried to do some
work once and every time she used the flex shaft, the baby would jump
in her womb.

Good luck!

Wow, sounds like metalsmithing ranks right up there with smoking and
drinking when you’re pregnant! I just wouldn’t do it - better safe
than sorry.

Grace S.

Discussions over this topic took place few times over the last
couple of years on Orchid. You can retrieve
the threads by running a keyword search for “Pregnancy”.

Check out the following address to learn more:


Hi Annie,

Eleven years ago I worked in a jewelry repair shop where there was
no safety equipment to speak of or windows to open. Being there was
a great experience (only 4 months), but I knew it was not good for
my health. When I found out that I was pregnant I knew I had to
leave. My reasoning was this: It was foolish of me to take the
health risk for myself, but unforgivable to force my child to take
the risk with me just to get a paycheck and experience. Shortly
after I left, ventilation was installed–because their main stone
setter was trying to get pregnant.

It maybe that the owners will put in ventilation and other safety
equipment once it becomes an “issue”. Perhaps they will do the right
thing if you talk to them about it. “Squeaky wheel gets greased.” By
the way there is also the risk of getting silicosis from the
polishing compounds (if there is no protection from the polishing
task, wear a respirator or don’t polish). Silicosis is a respiratory
disease caused by inhalation of silica dust (in this case from the
polishing compounds), which leads to inflammation and scarring of
the lung tissue. I don’t know if this affects the fetus, but it sure
will make chasing the baby around a lot more difficult to do.

Bottom line: Take excellent care of yourself and the baby will have
the best chance of being born healthy. My daughter is my best
creation ever!

Brrr, where it is cold in CT.

One a side note, my wife carves gem stones, she tried to do some
work once and every time she used the flex shaft, the baby would
jump in her womb. 

Wow Tom. Sounds like you and your wife have a new lapidary who just
could not wait to get started… Congratulations to both of you.


When I was pregnant with my little one over 3 years ago, I was
polishing and doing major/minor repair work. To protect yourself from
inhaling polishing compounds if the equipment is not enclosed, invest
in a box of surgical or painter’s masks at the local pharmacy or
hardware store. It’s not so much the polishing compounds could hurt a
baby as it iritates the sinuses.

We didn’t have ventilation hoods over our benches but the area was
about 12’x 14’ in the shop. As long as the air gets circulated and
the pieces being soldered are very clean it shouldn’t be a problem.
It also helps if the the shop uses cadmium free solder since some
solders available still have that component and cadmium is a
carcinogen. Also make a stand to not do any kind of lead soldering.
It’s awful to being with but since I couldn’t get the hang of it
anyway that was a plus.

Best Wishes in having a little one!
Rene Howard

Hello, Annie

My own personal experience may be skewed because all it takes for me
to get pregnant is for my husband to hold my hand.

However, I do not believe you have anything to worry about. Wear a
protective mask for polishing, if you like, but be aware that if you
go outside you may inhale diesel fumes from a passing truck. It’s
easy to look suspiciously at jewelry, but do you really know what
your furnace is putting in the air, or what is in the water you’ve
been drinking?

As for chemicals, consider that arsenic is a naturally occuring
element in our bodies and the soil in your garden. I wouldn’t drink
the denatured alcohol, but the female body is built to protect the
babies it carries. Food poisoning, shock, flu, hard physical labor
(landscaping), cooking with teflon pans - my body kept my babies
safe through all these, and I’ve worked up until delivery.

My children are healthy, and the next one is projected to be 9
pounds (and a C-section!).

Don’t worry so much. Obviously, don’t be stupid; but don’t borrow
trouble, either.

Again, there are folks who will disagree with me, but this advice is
based on my own personal experiences, not anyone else’s.

Have fun getting pregnant. When the baby moves, it’s unforgettable.
If the baby moves when you have gas, it’s unforgettable for everyone
else. :wink:

God bless,
Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations