What makes the study important?

Learning the causes of birth defects can help us to prevent them. The size and scope of this study has provided the nation with a vast resource to look at possible causes of birth defects. It has and will continue to help us to identify new substances in our environment that might be harmful to developing babies. We have and will continue to investigate the role that genetic factors play in the development of a baby, especially those genetic factors that interact with substances in our environment. The valuable information we have gained from the study will help us to continue to develop effective programs to prevent birth defects.