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EXPOSURE TO FIRELIGHTERS IN PREGNANCY

Date of issue: August 2010
Version: 1

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Summary

Firelighters are small blocks of material, which burn very easily and are used to aid the lighting of wood or coal fires. They usually consist of a hydrocarbon solvent such as kerosene in a combustible base.

No published data on the possible adverse effects of exposure to firelighters or their constituents in human pregnancy have been found. As with all chemicals, unnecessary exposure to firelighters during pregnancy should be avoided. Where exposure is unavoidable then precautions should be taken to ensure that exposure is well within the recommended exposure limits and not associated with toxic symptoms.

Normal use of firelighters would not be expected to pose a hazard. However, pregnant women with pica may occasionally ingest non-food substances such as firelighters, or feel compelled to inhale the fumes from firelighters. In these circumstances maternal toxicity could occur.

Data following acute exposure are limited, however in the absence of severe maternal toxicity, the risks of fetal toxicity appear to be no greater than those for the general population.  Inadvertent exposure is not an indication for termination of pregnancy or additional prenatal diagnostic tests.

Note: This document has been archived and will not be routinely updated. If up-to-date information is required please contact UKTIS.

This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.