Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Chemical Exposure and Miscarriage

    Chemical Exposure and Miscarriage

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    Exposure to certain chemicals on a regular basis during pregnancy has been linked to increased rates of miscarriage .

    Chemicals that may increase a woman's chance of having a miscarriage include:

    • Medicines. Before conceiving, or as soon as you become aware that you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about all of the medicines you have been taking. For example, the use of the medicine isotretinoin for the treatment of acne during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage and to cause birth defects. 1, 2
    • Tetrachloroethylene (used in dry cleaning). 1
    • Arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene oxide. 3
    • Alcohol consumption, which can also cause birth defects and intellectual disabilities. There is no known safe amount of alcohol intake during pregnancy. The safest course is to avoid alcohol entirely while you are pregnant.
    • Cocaine.

    Related Information



    1. Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Recurrent early pregnancy loss. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 1191-1220. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
    2. Briggs GG, et al. (2011). Isotretinoin. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 9th ed., pp. 777-779. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
    3. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Abortion. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 215-237. New York: McGraw-Hill.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Current as ofJune 4, 2014

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.