Increased risk of visual impairments, study finds
Women exposed to organic solvents during pregnancy are at an increased risk of having children with visual impairments, according to a new study. Researchers compared 32 children whose mothers were exposed to organic solvents – chemicals found in paints, adhesives and cleaning agents – in their workplaces during pregnancy, with an unexposed control group of children. The solvent-exposed group had poorer vision and problems with colour vision. These results reinforce the message that women of child-bearing age should avoid exposure to organic solvents and use all available protective barriers, says lead author Christine Till, a graduate student in psychology, toxicology and neuroscience at U of T. Till worked with researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children and recruited participants through the hospital’s Motherisk Program, a consultation service that provides information about fetal risks associated with various exposures.