A report of an association of chromosome breakage and birth defects with spray adhesive exposure resulted in a ban on the sale of these products and nationwide publicity warning exposed women. Six months later the ban was removed; the association could not be confirmed. Replies to questionnaires sent to medical genetics centers throughout the United States revealed that more than 1100 inquiries had been received and more than 1200 working days were expended because of the issue. Eleven exposed women underwent diagnostic amniocentesis, and one elected to abort her fetus. Eight other women who were exposed also elected to do so, but without first undergoing diagnostic amniocentesis. The episode illustrates some of the unexpected and unnecessary consequences that can arise from the false identification of an environmental agent as a mutagen or teratogen.
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