Supervisors to Weigh Alcohol Warnings

The county Board of Supervisors ordered the drafting of an ordinance Tuesday that would require businesses selling alcoholic beverages to post signs warning pregnant women that alcohol can cause birth defects.

Santa Ana and Los Angeles County already have such ordinances, and the California Health and Welfare Agency has proposed a state regulation to post such notices anywhere alcohol is sold.

According to statistics provided to the supervisors on Tuesday, 1,735 of the 34,264 babies born in the county in 1984 were below normal in birth weight. Low birth weight is a sign of fetal alcohol syndrome, Dr. Max Schneider, a local physician, told the supervisors.


The proposed ordinance, to be written by the county counsel and the county’s Health Care Agency, is to be brought back to the supervisors in 60 days for consideration.

A state advisory committee has already determined that a state law on toxic warnings requires that pregnant women be warned about alcoholic beverages.

The panel has said signs in stores would be sufficient, but consumer groups have tried to get the warning added to cans and bottles. Bills to require that were killed last year in the Legislature after the liquor lobby mounted strong opposition.