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Alcohol Effects

July 10, 1988

Drinking alcohol, including beer and wine, during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Fetal alcohol effects and alcohol-related birth defects rank among the top three causes of mental retardation in the United States and follow only heart disease as causes of birth defects.

All alcohol-related birth defects can be prevented if the population is informed that drinking, even in small amounts, could cause defects.

Several cities in Southern California have already mandated that "warning" signs be posted in establishments that serve or sell alcohol. Recently the Orange County Board of Supervisors has taken under advisement the posting of warning signs in county areas, as well as a recommendation to all cities in the county to pass similar legislation.

In addition, alcohol has been placed on the governor's list of toxic chemicals that cause birth defects. Statewide legislation is being considered for mandatory warning signs.

The U.S. Senate is considering enactment of Senate Bill S2047, which would require warning labels, similar to those on cigarette packages, to be placed on all containers of alcohol. Pen a letter of support to our elected officials, asking that this important bill be passed. Fetal alcohol syndrome and its related defects can be prevented; it's up to us to make our voices heard.

JOHN L. STUART

Co-Chairman

County Coalition for the Prevention

of Alcohol-Related Birth Defects

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