Study Links Mothers’ Workplace Solvent Exposure to Autism

A recent study revealed a potential link between mothers’ exposure to solvent chemicals in their place of work, and the chance of autism development in their children — exposed mothers were found to have a 1.5 times greater probability of having a child with autism than mothers who were not exposed to solvents.

A solvent is a chemical that is used to dissolve other substances. Ethanol and acetone are examples of solvents, but in an industrial setting, workers may be exposed to chemicals such as benzene, vinyl chloride, and other solvents that are known to pose health risks. Solvents can remain in the body’s organs once absorbed through the skin or respiratory system.

The study on the connection between autism and solvent exposure was conducted by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Health Effects Laboratory. A sample population of parents, both of children with and without autism, were selected for the study. A total of 537 parents of children with autism, and 414 parents of children who do not have autism participated. The subjects included 750 mothers and 891 fathers.

According to U.S. News and World Report, “Long-term, moderate-level exposure to solvents at work among women was associated with a near doubling in the risk of having a child with autism.”

Further study is needed, as the researched population was not large enough to be statistically significant or identify cause. However, the results of the study, which researched the effects of 16 different substances, discovered an association that requires attention from health and labor professionals.

Many workers are frequently exposed to dangerous substances as part of their daily work duties. Exposure to such chemicals can lead to the development of disease over time, both in the exposed worker and sometimes in their children.

At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our experienced team of attorneys represent workers who were injured or developed an occupational disease while performing their job duties.

To schedule a free initial case evaluation with our lawyers, send us a message or call (312) 739-0000.