Epidemiological research designed to explore causality of illness has produced increasing evidence to verify that exposure to toxic agents is contributing to the escalating burden of chronic affliction, including congenital disorders. While endeavoring to facilitate optimal health and well-being for patients, the medical profession is currently challenged by the consequences of environmental factors unique to the modern era. In the last half century, there have been profound shifts in health-related habits of individuals and population groups, and recent research suggests that changes in the home and workplace environment are responsible for many common health problems including various congenital anomalies. As a result of increasing concern about environmental influences on health, 'Human Exposure Assessment,' the investigation and study of specific patient exposures and related health concerns, is a rapidly expanding area of scientific research. Practitioners of clinical medicine, including providers of maternity care, should acquire the skills to elicit a proper environmental exposure history and the necessary tools to implement proactive patient education relating to precautionary avoidance.