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International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders day, 9 of September

Today, September 9, the 9th day of the 9th month, is International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders day, prenatal exposure to alcohol is the leading cause of mental disabilities and birth defects in Europe

No known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy

Throughout pregnancy, even at low levels of exposure, alcohol interferes with the normal development of the foetus and can seriously damage the unborn child.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

These effects can include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

FASD is 100% preventable, a woman just needs to abstain from alcohol during her pregnancy

Unborn children have no means to protect themselves against the harmful effects of alcohol, and the damage that alcohol may inflict can stay with them throughout their lives.

In 2006, the EU made the protection of the unborn child one of the priorities of its current Alcohol Strategy. Although during this time some progress has been achieved, there is still a long way to go.

Eurocare believes that the EU can play a crucial role and would like to call on the Commission to continue its efforts to support Member States to reduce the prevalence of FASD by, for example:

- Supporting spread of information, through the introduction of compulsory health messages on containers of alcoholic drinks describing the harmful effects of drinking during pregnancy, through programmes to enhance knowledge of health care professionals or through comprehensive and permanent awareness-raising campaigns and educational programmes for the public at large.

-Supporting research to understand mechanisms and prevalence of FASD, and to develop evidence-based interventions for prevention, diagnosis and management

-Supporting the sharing of information and best practice among experts and policymakers


EVENT: Protecting the unborn baby from alcohol

To mark the international FASD day Eurocare is together with the European FASD Alliance (EUFASD) organising an event in the European Parliament.

Date: Tuesday, 17 September 2013. 10h00 a.m - 13h00 p.m.

Venue: European Parliament, Brussels ( How to get there?). Room A3H-1

Registration: Please register by 10 September. Click here to register

Hosted by Lithuanian MEPs, Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D) and Radvilė Morkunaite-Mikulenien


Opening speeches

10:00 Welcome by host MEPs
10:05 Opening remarks by Mr Gediminas Černiauskas, Vice-Minister for Health of Lithuania (tbc)

Setting the scene

10:20 Risks associated with Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol, Dr Diane Black, European FASD Alliance

European solutions

10:30 Measuring the problem in Europe, Dr Lars Møller, World Health Organisation Office for Europe

Good practices around Europe

10:50 Research: Dr Simona Pichini, National Institute of Health, Italy
11:10 Prevention: Alcohol Labelling, Dr Pierre-Yves Bello, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, France

Next steps

11:30 Way forward at EU level, Keynote speaker: Mr Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection


Networking Lunch and presentation of European campaign for prevention of FASD, Francesco Marini, Local Health Authority of Treviso (Italy) and Stefania Bazzo, PhD in Science of Reproduction and Development at the University of Trieste (Italy)