U.S. Study Unable to Explain Miscarriages


Federal investigators were unable to determine what caused numerous miscarriages among employees at USA Today’s headquarters in suburban Rosslyn, Va., but said Tuesday that pregnant women working on some floors that were under renovation in 1988 were three times as likely to lose their babies as others elsewhere in the building.

Reporting on a 16-months-long study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said that it was possible, but unlikely, that pregnant women “may have been exposed to harmful amounts of construction-related . . . toxins.”

The institute ruled out lead in the drinking water, once a suspect, exposure to video display terminals and psychological stress.


USA Today Publisher Cathleen Black requested the investigation after a newsroom employees’ informal survey found that at least 13 of 36 women who became pregnant after December, 1987, had suffered miscarriages.

The institute conducted extensive analyses of the two Rosslyn buildings that house the newspaper and its corporate offices.