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Birth Defects from Workplace
Exposure to Glycol Ether
People working in the manufacturing industries typically have some of the highest risks of dangerous chemical exposure of any population in the United States. In the traditional trade of shipbuilding, Baltimore, Maryland workers received occupational exposure to dangerous amounts of asbestos. Now, workers in high-tech semiconductor manufacturing face exposure to an even more dangerous chemical, glycol ether. Men and women exposed to glycol ethers while working in semiconductor manufacturing "clean rooms" have an increased risk of having children with serious birth defects for many years after exposure.
If your child was born with birth defects that you believe were due to your exposure to glycol ethers, schedule a birth defects lawsuit consultation with the toxic tort lawyers at The Yost Legal Group.
What Are Glycol Ethers?
Glycol ethers are not one, but many different chemicals. They are generally clear, colorless liquid. They may have a mild odor, even a pleasant one, or no odor at all. Some do have a strong smell. They are a class of volatile organic compounds, meaning that some readily evaporate and contaminate the air.
How Am I Exposed to Glycol Ethers?
The most common route of exposure to glycol ethers is inhalation. They evaporate, contaminate the air, and you breathe the air. Many glycol ethers are "agile" molecules, difficult to filter out, and exposure may occur despite some precautions. They are also rapidly absorbed through the skin. Semiconductor "clean rooms" are especially dangerous places for glycol ether exposure because the same precautions that keep dirt out often keep in dangerous chemicals like glycol ethers.
What Are the Health Effects of Glycol Ethers?
Short-term effects of glycol ether exposure include alcohol-like intoxication; skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation, and anemia. The most serious effect of glycol ethers is damage to the reproductive system of both men and women. There is evidence linking at least nine different glycol ethers to damage to the reproductive system, and many others have not been adequately tested.
What Birth Defects Are Associated with Glycol Ethers?
Exposure to glycol ethers has been shown through animal testing to be associated with birth defects, whether the mother or father is the one exposed. Unfortunately, this has been confirmed with the tragic experience of many people exposed to these chemicals in the workplace. Birth defects that have been associated with glycol ether exposure include:
- Missing or deformed limbs
- Cleft palate
- Craniofacial deformity
- Brain injury
- Digestive tract defects
- Heart defects
- Spina bifida
This list is neither comprehensive nor complete. If you were exposed to glycol ethers and your child suffered a birth defect, chances are there is a connection, even if you stopped being exposed long before the child was conceived.
Have I Worked with Glycol Ethers?
Your employer should have informed you of all the hazardous chemicals you work with during your training, and a current employer should also be prepared to reveal to you all the chemicals used on your job site. If they can't remember or hesitate, ask to see the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for your job site.
In addition, here is a list of industries where glycol ethers are commonly used:
- Semiconductor (microchip)manufacturing
- Paint, varnish, or dye manufacturing
- Dry cleaning
- The processing or manufacture of jet fuel, brake fluid, perfume, and cosmetics
If you have worked in any of these industries, you may have been exposed to glycol ethers.
If your child has suffered a birth defect that you believe may be the result of your exposure to glycol ethers, you may be able to receive compensation to help you care for your disabled child. To increase your chances of receiving compensation for your injury, work with lawyers with experience in toxic tort cases. Schedule a glycol ether birth defect consultation with the experienced toxic tort attorneys at The Yost Legal Group.
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Disclaimer: The Baltimore Injury Attorneys of The Yost Legal Group provide information about personal injury lawsuits, including Birth Defects, Product Liability and other Personal Injury topics. It is not meant to be taken as formal legal advice. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, please contact an injury lawyer at our Baltimore, Maryland office today.