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Will regular exposure to diesel fuel harm the fetus?
Q: I’m in my second month of pregnancy with my third child. I work in a scale house weighing trucks, and I’m concerned that the diesel fuel I inhale could cause complications. My two other children were healthy from day one, but I didn’t have this job when I was pregnant with them. Do you think I should continue working there?
A: Most companies are required by law to provide their employees with information about workplace chemicals and pollutants. Within these documents you will find information about the safety of working in these types of environments while pregnant. Your company should be able to provide you with a copy of these materials.

If your company does not provide you the proper information, I’d have significant concerns. I would err on the side of caution, removing myself from the environment since there is a high level of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other pollutants in fuel exhaust. Unless you are in an incredibly well-ventilated area, you’re inhaling significant amounts of these petroles.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has specific rules about exposure to chemicals in the workplace. The OSHA guidelines state that carbon monoxide can be transported across the placental barrier, and exposure in utero constitutes a special risk to the fetus.

For more information check out OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguideline. You can also contact the agency at 1-800-321-OSHA.