Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous times in the lives of both parents as they prepare to welcome their newborn into their lives and families. Tragically, however, some infants develop neural tube defects (NTDs), a serious type of birth defect. NTDs occur after the infant’s neural tube does not close completely during the fetal development phase. This can result in a child suffering from spina bifida, or the incomplete formation of the spinal column. Various factors affect an infant’s risk of developing NTDs, including genetic and environmental considerations, such as maternal exposure to benzene. Some studies have suggested a link between benzene and Spina Bifida.
Evidence Linking Benzene and Spina Bifida
One study also demonstrated evidence that maternal exposure to benzene and spina bifida developing in that mother’s baby could be related. This study was conducted on data gathered between 1999 and 2004 and involved 1,108 infants who had NTDs and were either live births, stillborn, or electively terminated. Data collected from a control group of 4,132 unaffected infants who were born during the same time period were also used. The study considered the ambient air levels of benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene based on estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 1999 Assessment System for Population Exposure Nationwide along with the maternal home addresses during the times they gave birth to their affected children.
Maternal Exposure to Benzene
According to the study, those mothers who lived in areas with the highest estimated benzene exposure levels were at nearly 2.5 times the risk of their infants developing spina bifida as the mothers in the reference group. This study is the first of its kind to show that maternal ambient air exposure to certain benzene levels can be related to spina bifida development in infants. In areas where mothers are exposed to ambient benzene levels due to another party’s negligence, those mothers may have the right to seek financial restitution for any damages associated with their child’s development of spina bifida.
Experienced Toxic Chemical Exposure Attorney
Personal injury laws are intended to help return injured parties to as whole a state as possible before the event which caused an injury. After maternal exposure to benzene and spina bifida developing in her baby, a mother may wish to seek more information from an experienced personal injury law firm like ours to find out how she can seek civil justice on her child’s behalf. A successful personal injury claim can help provide restitution for medical and other related expenses caused by the benzene exposure and subsequent development of spina bifida.
Source: Article titled “Not Just for Workers: Maternal Exposure to Ambient Benzene Linked to Spina Bifida in Infants” by Julie R. Barrett, MS, ELS.