Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Environmental Teratogens

Environmental Teratogens

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


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Environmental teratogens are external agents that can increase the risk for carcinogenesis, malformations, mutagenesis, or deficient growth in an embryo or fetus. There are two general categories of teratogenic agents, which include errors in genetic processing, and environmental agents or factors. Both genetic and environmental teratogens can lead to embryopathology, but they have different pathologic processes. Errors in genetic processing can lead to abnormal development via gene abnormalities, chromosome deletion, chromosome excess, or chromosome rearrangement. Environmental teratogens, on the other hand, interact with the embryo during development, which can lead to congenital malformations and a multitude of other deficits. Environmental teratogens can include chemicals, drugs, radiation, and other factors.


alcohol, carcinogenesis, embryo or fetus, embryopathology, environmental agents or factors, environmental teratogens, genetic processing, pathologic processes

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This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Environmental Teratogens