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ENVIRONMENT: If I can’t remove the hazard, can I limit the problem?

When you want to become pregnant you are more aware of the things around you. You think about what’s in the air, the food you eat, renovations you make and the everyday chemicals you use—even in a can of hairspray.

Before you get pregnant, you and your partner need to take a closer look at the hazards that may be in your home, workplace and where you spend leisure time. Exposure of men or women to environmental hazards can make it more difficult to get pregnant, and could cause problems during the pregnancy.


Sniff out the hazards

Most studies on the effects of chemicals, gases or noise on sperm, eggs and the developing baby are still ongoing. When science can’t be certain, caution is your best approach. You need to know what part of your environment could affect your health and the health of your future children. Scan your environment to see how many of these items you come in contact with regularly. You can make your own checklist of the things you may want to avoid before your pregnancy and during your pregnancy in order to ensure you are the healthiest parents and have the healthiest baby possible.


Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System:

Motherisk Home Line: 416-813-6780 or www.motherisk.org

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: 1-800-668-4284 or www.ccohs.ca

Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers: 1-800-263-2129 or www.ohcow.on.ca

Canadian Lung Association: www.YourHealthyHome.ca or 1-888-344-5864

Nova Scotia Allergy and Environmental Health Association:
www.lesstoxicguide.ca or call 1-800-449-1995

Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and environment:


Material Safety Data Sheets at your workplace:

Employee Assistance Program:

Occupational Health Nurse:

Health and Safety Representative:

Can I avoid a hazard?

Can the task be done another way, without using the harmful agent?

Can someone who is not planning a pregnancy do the task for me?

Can my home, workplace or hobbies be set up differently to stop the harmful effects?

What can I do to keep from bringing the hazard home?

Do I know enough about a hazard?

If I don’t have enough information I can find out more through the “Help is Close to Home” section.

Other ways to get the information I need are….


Can I limit the problem?

If I can’t remove the hazard, can I limit the problem?


Does the task really need to be done regularly?

Can I use special equipment such as gloves and protective clothing to protect myself from the hazard?

Can I use less of the agent and still get the job done?

Can the workplace be set up differently to reduce harm?

My plans to cut back on hazards are…

You are the only one who really knows what type of environment you spend your time in every day. You are the best one to make a checklist of possible hazards and talk about possible hazards with the health contacts available to help you. Start now – before you get pregnant.

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