So far, medical experts have little knowledge of how unborn children are directly affected by their mothers being exposed to asbestos. No conclusive scientific studies have been published to tell us the risks posed by being pregnant and exposed to asbestos, however, that does not mean your child won’t suffer if you are exposed to asbestos while pregnant.
What is asbestos?
What we do know is that asbestos is a white silicate substance that has powerful resistance to heat. This property makes asbestos a great insulator for buildings and it was used widely in homes, particularly in the 1950s, to keep people warm. Asbestos was also used in fire-resistant paint, hot water pipes and floor tiles.
How is asbestos dangerous?
The airborne microfibers from asbestos used in home heating and insulation can be breathed in by people. Once this happens, asbestos particles can begin to build-up in the delicate membrane of the lungs, stomach and even the heart.
In 2000, asbestos was banned in the construction industry throughout the European Union because of its cancer-causing properties. The asbestos particles trapped in the body can cause cells to mutate and eventually form tumours, which can be fatal. Each year, 2,300 people die in the UK because of asbestos-related cancer. As such attorneys for asbestosis and asbestos related cancers such as Mesothelioma are becoming well known in order to combat negligence of businesses and home-owners.
Is asbestos still a risk?
Yes. The UK Health and Safety Executive says that if you work in a building built before the discovery of asbestos and 2000 ban, it is likely asbestos will be present. If the building has been refurbished before 2000 it could also be affected.
If I am pregnant how will this affect me?
So far, all experts know is a pregnant mother is at least as likely as a non-pregnant person to suffer the effects of asbestos exposure. This means that the symptoms a mother suffers as a result of asbestos exposure can in turn affect her unborn child.
Is my child at risk?
There is no evidence that unborn children suffer the effects of asbestos exposure directly, such as an increased risk of cancer. However, if an asbestos exposed mother develops lung problems which stop her from breathing efficiently, the unborn child could suffer the effects of reduced oxygen intake during development.
Another example would be if the mother develops a stomach tumour as a result of asbestos exposure. This means her digestive system may not be able to digest food as well. Foetus growth and development could be reduced, because the unborn child has less essential nutrients and energy from its mother.
What if I am exposed and pregnant?
If you believe you could have been exposed to asbestos and your unborn child’s health could be at risk, there is help available. An Asbestos Claim can be made by contacting a responsible solicitor who will advise you on how best to find a legal solution to your problem.