Day to Day Hazards – Paint Fumes

My office is trying to kill my baby. Okay, now I’m just being dramatic, but here’s a perfect example of the daily chaos of expecting, especially when you haven’t told anyone at work.

The guy in the office directly across from my cube is on a business trip for the rest of the week, so Maintenance decided today would be as good a day as any to repaint his office. And of course I work in one of those offices that are hermetically sealed (i.e. the windows don’t open). So right now I’m marinating the small one in paint fumes.

What do “the experts” say on paint exposure? Well, it depends on who you ask:

Per iVillage, “Maternal Fetal Toxicology” by Koren states, “It is unlikely that such a brief low dose exposure will cause any of the conditions that may be associated with occupational exposure throughout pregnancy. Water based paints or latex paints pose no increased reproductive risk because they have low volatility.”

According to another website (, “Although no studies have specifically addressed the risks associated with exposure to today’s paint fumes, it is considered one of those “maybe” risks for pregnant women. If you have the choice of when to paint your house, I suggest later in the pregnancy. The first two trimesters are the most delicate for the baby’s development. Essential organs and body parts are being formed. If you can avoid paint fumes during this time of growth, your baby will be less affected by this “maybe” risk.”

So now I’m working in the office next to the painted room instead of the cube across from it, and so far I only have the faintest of fume headaches, which I 90% chalk up to my extreme paranoia. Looks like I’m not eating at my desk today (probably a good thing anyway).


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