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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

November 21, 1986

After doing a research paper for a class in parenting at California State University, Northridge, I was appalled to find out how little information is available on the subject of FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome).

FAS is a special set of problems that babies may have if their mothers drink too much during pregnancy. Heads and faces may not be formed properly, plus, babies can be smaller and shorter than other children of the same age.

FAS children can have trouble in learning easy tasks, can have weak hearts and trouble with bending or moving their arms and legs.

Alcohol is the only known teratogen that harms the fetus that is not labeled as such.

Recently the National Opinion Research Corp. conducted a survey on public awareness of alcohol's effect on the unborn child. One-third of the adult population of the United States had never heard that alcohol could hae adverse effects on unborn babies.

Massive education is needed to alert the public to this problem. Warning labels on liquor, beer and wine would be a way to start public awareness. Warnings have been put on cigarettes and some over-the-counter drugs.

Many U.S. doctors believe the evidence against alcohol is strong enough to warrant strict warnings, so why isn't something being done about it?

SHIRLEY WIGDOR

Tarzana

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