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Pregnant and dyeing

  1. Many parents expecting a child would like a brand new nursery, painted in bright colors. But is it wise to paint the nursery? There are many reports suggesting that paint can be harmful to unborn children and that it is best not to dye during pregnancy. In addition, paint can also reduce fertility. How about this and what are the harmful effects of dyeing during pregnancy?

Dangers of paint for people who want to have children

  1. Paint contains substances that can be harmful to health. Until now, it is mainly the painters who have experienced the harmful effects in the form of the so-called painter's disease. The paint has caused permanent damage to the nervous system. For most people who do not come into contact with paint or paint fumes on a daily basis, the damage remains limited and the complaints disappear as soon as the harmful fumes are no longer inhaled. This is different for pregnant women. The vapors can in some cases have harmful effects on the unborn child. The vapors can also reduce fertility in men. This mainly concerns the volatile organic compounds that occur in certain types of paint. Well-known volatile organic compounds that adversely affect fertility are toluene, ethylene glycol ethers and xylene.

Toluene

  1. Toluene is used in paint as a thinner. Paint thinned with a thinner often contains toluene. Toluene is already harmful when inhaled in moderate amounts. It can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and memory loss. In large quantities over a relatively short period of time dizziness and nausea are common symptoms, but in some cases one can also become unconscious. Long-term exposure to large amounts can even cause death. Toluene is also used as a drug in the form of glue sniffing. Inhalation can cause euphoric and dissociation effects.

Toluene during pregnancy

  1. There are indications that toluene can increase the risk of miscarriage. This applies to the inhalation of toluene by pregnant women, or by inhalation of toluene by men just before conception. There are also indications that toluene increases the risk of childhood leukemia, but there is no hard evidence for this.

Ethylene glycol ethers

  1. Ethylene glycol ethers are used as a solvent in vinyl and acrylic paints and varnishes. Studies in laboratory animals show that ethylene glycol ethers can reduce fertility in men. Research among painters also showed that painters had a lower sperm count per ejaculation than men who worked in shipbuilding.

Ethylene glycol ethers during pregnancy

  1. However, exposure to ethylene glycol ethers is even more dangerous for pregnant women. The risk of miscarriage and birth defects is higher after exposure to ethylene glycol ethers. This effect has been demonstrated in several studies, so it is wise for pregnant women to avoid inhaling this substance.

Xylene

  1. Xylene is also used as a solvent in paint. It is made by methylation of toluene and therefore has similar health risks. The vapors can cause headache, nausea, dizziness and unconsciousness when inhaled, and exposure to pregnant women may increase the risk of miscarriage. As with toluene, this is also a matter of conjecture and the hard evidence is lacking.

How to recognize?

  1. Substances that are hazardous to fertility can be recognized by a hazard symbol on the packaging or on the safety data sheet. The packaging may also contain a corresponding warning or risk phrase.

Symbols

  1. Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)



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