June 28, 2013 | Thornton Law Firm Share:Posted by David C. Strouss on Jun 28, 2013 2:36:00 PM July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month (NCCAPM). NCCAPM and its partner organizations maintain a variety of programs throughout the year offering services for patients and families, and promoting public awareness of these birth defects. Some are born with congenital birth defects like cleft lip and palate, others with more complex, life threatening craniofacial conditions. These abnormalities are congenital, meaning they are present at birth. Cleft means ‘split’ or ‘separation’. During early pregnancy different parts of the face develop individually and then join together. If parts do not join properly the result is a cleft. The condition affects approximately one in every nine hundred babies born in the United States. What causes cleft and craniofacial birth defects? There is more than one possible cause; but if the cause is the mother’s exposure to a toxin before or during pregnancy, you may have a legal claim. Maternal work exposure to glycol ethers, a chemical found in a variety of domestic and industrial products, has been reported to increase the rate of children born with cleft lips. Glycol ethers are known as “solvents”. They are generally a clear, colorless liquid; however, they may have a mild odor, a pleasant one, a strong smell, or no odor at all. They are a class of “volatile” organic compounds, meaning that glycol ethers readily evaporate into the air we breathe. Maternal work exposure to glycol ethers most commonly occurs in semiconductor manufacturing work. Exposure to other organic solvents such as xylene, toluene, and acetone has also been reported to increase the rate of birth defects. Mothers working in occupations such as hairdressing, agriculture, and leather or shoe manufacturing as well as those exposed to pesticides, lead, and aliphatic acids have been reported to have an increased rate of children with birth defects. If your child has suffered a birth defect that you believe may be the result of your exposure to toxic chemical exposures in your workplace, please contact experienced birth defect attorney David Strouss at Thornton Law Firm or a free consultation by calling 888-341-1395.