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Alcohol warning labels recommended

Alcohol warning labels recommended

Legislation should be developed to require warning labels on alcoholic liquor pointing out the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, a Health Committee report has found.

The committee today presented to the House its Business2report on the petition of Christine Rogan and 7279 others, which asked that the House of Representatives legislate that all alcoholic beverages in New Zealand carry health and safety messages including the warning that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

'We considered carefully the likely effectiveness of warning labels in reducing harm associated with alcohol,' committee chairperson Steve Chadwick said. 'Such warnings will not be effective in isolation, and should be combined with other health promotion and education activities. Such a strategy should help reduce the number of children born each year with fetal alcohol syndrome,' Mrs Chadwick said.

Fetal alcohol syndrome, caused by a woman consuming alcohol while pregnant, and its less severe form, fetal alcohol effects, are estimated to affect between 100 to 500 of the babies born in New Zealand each year. Effects can include growth retardation and central nervous system abnormalities.

The committee also recommended that more research be undertaken to establish what is a safe level of alcohol consumption while pregnant, and into the prevalence of alcohol-related birth disorders.

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