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Teratogenic Substances

Teratology is the study of the effects of teratogenic substances on the development of embryos, fetuses, or a pregnancy. Teratogenic substances can cause congenital malformations, or they can halt a pregnancy altogether. Clinical and experimental teratologists study how teratogenic agents that actively create birth defects can disrupt the normal development of a fetus or embryo. These include chemicals, drugs, maternal infections, and radiation. Exposure during pregnancy to teratogenic substances causes one or more structural abnormalities in the developing embryo or fetus. The discovery that a particular substance is a teratogen is usually the result of a significant increase in birth defects in an area or in a class of people.

The discovery of Minamata disease in Minamata Bay in postwar Japan is typical of the discovery ...

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