References to the association between alcohol and inferior offspring development and/or birth defects date back several hundred years in the scientific literature. For instance, during England’s gin epidemic of 1720–1750, considerable concern was expressed over alcohol’s adverse effects on unborn children; by the turn of the 20th century, epidemiological studies had actually documented alcohol’s risk to the developing fetus. During the early 1900s, a number of laboratory studies were also conducted to test alcohol’s effects on embryonic development in animals. However, these studies do not seem to have been prompted by a concern about alcohol’s role as a teratogen in humans but rather by practical considerations. Alcohol was considered representative of general anesthetic agents with the advantage of being readily available, soluble in water, and volatile.