The origin of toxicology can be traced to early man as he learned which plants were poisonous and which were safe to eat. The empirical observations of the relationship between toxic chemicals (Toxicants) and reproduction is not well documented. Early observations were primarily on that of adverse pregnancies. In the Old Testament (Judges 13:7) the woman who was to bear Samson was warned "Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son: and drink no wine or strong drink." This citation indicates that there was some knowledge of the effect of alcohol consumption on adverse pregnancy. In 1736 in a report on the "gin epidemic" which was submitted to the English parliament this relationship was again noted: "The contagion has spread even to the female sex. Unhappy mothers habituate themselves to these distilled liquors, whose children are born weak and sickly... " Incredibly, fetal alcohol syndrome was not recognized until the mid 1970s. In the fifteenth century, Catharine Deshayes (also known as La Voisine) was noted as a paid poisoner with skills including abortions and love potions. However, not until this century have the effects of toxicants on pregnancies become an important area of study. This area of research was spurred by the major tragedies resulting from the therapeutic use of thalidomide and the environmental exposure of mercury in Minamata Bay, Japan. These experiences illustrated that human fetuses were at risk due to chemical exposures.