Published: Sep 05, 2011 8:38 PM EDT

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - An island-wide study shows almost half of the Big Island's children were exposed to intoxicating substances in the womb.
    
West Hawaii Today reported more than 2,000 pregnant women were surveyed by the Children's Research Triangle over the past three years and nearly half admitted to drinking alcohol or other substance abuse while pregnant.
    
There is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume while pregnant.
    
Naomi Imai of the state Family Health Services Division says alcohol-exposed pregnancy is the leading cause of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects and other disorders.
    
Sharon Belcher is a registered nurse and Hawaii director for the Children's Research Triangle. She says on average treating a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome in Hawaii can cost as much as $5 million.

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