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Using chemicals while pregnant


I guess this question is more for the mothers out there, though of
course if anyone has input it would be appreciated.

What safety precautions do you take while working when you’re
pregnant? What do you need to stay away from completely? What kind of
gear do you need?

Aviva Fort

Hello Aviva.

This subject comes up occasionally and there were at least two
extended threads that should come up in the Orchid archives. There is
a link to the archives in every Orchid email.

example searches: Safety in pregnancy, toxicity at the bench

Hope this helps.

in very spring like Mesa, AZ

What safety precautions do you take while working when you're

See Charles Lewton-Brain’s “The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report” -
less than half the page down at

for mention of this.

Best wishes,
Neil A.

You can find many discussions on this in the archives. Some women
temporarily stop doing metalsmithing completely, others change what
they do.

Perhaps reading Charles Lewton Brain’s book, Jewelry Workshop Safety
Report would be helpful. More research into any possible
consequences of the processes you use can help you decide.


When I was pregnant with my son I tried to use a respirator when
creating jewelry to filter out flux fumes, solder fumes, pickle fumes
etc. What I found, however, is I wasn’t getting enough oxygen when
breathing with the respirator on which I figured was nearly (if not
just) as dangerous as all of the chemicals/fumes. I tended to take
short gaspy breaths because I felt claustrophobic with the big heavy
mask over my nose and mouth. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk and
stopped doing metalwork completely until the babe was born. Just felt
like the better choice for me.

I agree with the others who are saying to research, research,
research. Get MSDS sheets on the products/chemicals you use.
Pregnancy lasts only 9 months however choices we make during that
time can last a lifetime.

Silentgoddess Art Jewelry

Well, you can shoot me as I’m not really an expert and I’m male (as
in "not ever gonna be pregnant so whatta you know?). CLB’s paper
above is indeed a good read, what I read of it.

In a generic sense, though, I could offer some thoughts on this.
There are things that aren’t really SO bad for anybody, like
nuisance dust. There are things that aren’t so GOOD for anybody, and
require greater care - acids, for instance. Those things aren’t
especially bad for pregnant women - that is, no worse than for
non-pregnant women. What you’d need to pay more attention to is
teratogens and carcinogens, real or imagined. Those are things like
plastic resins, aromatic hydrocarbons like MEK. Methanol maybe.
Those are the things that cross the line and are pointedly bad for
the fetus itself. Dichloromethane (Attack) is both of those - I’d
say a pregnant woman shouldn’t be in the same room with it.

Of course, it depends on your own comfort level. I’d have no problem
with a pregnant woman polishing, for instance. Cyanide plating, no.