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Thank you for visiting the CDC-NCBDDD Web site. In order to contact the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, please click here




Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, accounting for more than 20% of all infant deaths.  Of about 120,000 U.S. babies born each year with a birth defect, 8,000 die during their first year of life.  In addition, birth defects are the fifth-leading cause of years of potential life lost and contribute substantially to childhood morbidity and long-term disability.  Because the causes of about 70% of all birth defects are unknown, the public continues to be anxious about whether environmental pollutants cause birth defects, developmental disabilities, or other adverse reproductive outcomes.  The public also has many questions about whether various occupational hazards, dietary factors, medications, and personal behaviors cause or contribute to birth defects.  

In early 1998, Congress passed the Birth Defects Prevention Act of 1998, which became Public Law 105-168.  This bill authorized CDC to (1) collect, analyze, and make available data on birth defects; (2) operate regional centers for applied epidemiologic research on the prevention of birth defects; and (3) inform and educate the public about the prevention of birth defects.  Birth Defects and Pediatric Genetics is charged with carrying out the mandates of the Act.

Activities include:

News Briefs

Utah Department of Health Awarded Cooperative Agreement to Help Prevent Accutane-Related Birth Defects

A one-year cooperative agreement, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Office of Women’s Health, was awarded to the Pregnancy RiskLine (PRL), a counseling service of the the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and University of Utah Health Sciences Center. To receive information on the birth defects caused by Accutane or to participate in a survey about Accutane and pregnancy, women may call 1-866-626-OTIS (6847) or click here to go to their website.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for pregnant women exposed to anthrax:

If you have been exposed to anthrax, you and your health care provider should discuss the risks and benefits of the drugs that can be used to prevent anthrax.

For information on other aspects of anthrax and for guidelines on treatment of anthrax if symptoms appear, please visit CDC's Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Site.

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This page was last updated August 10, 2004

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) promotes the health of babies, children, and adults, and enhances the potential for full, productive living.  Our work includes identifying the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities, helping children to develop and reach their full potential, and promoting health and well-being among people of all ages with disabilities.