National Poison Prevention Week is March 15-21, 2009. This national awareness week is organized each year by the Poison Prevention Week Council, a coalition of national organizations working to prevent poisonings.
Unintentional poisoning is second only to motor vehicle crashes as a leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. Children, adolescents, and adults are all affected by unintentional poisoning.
More than 23,000 unintentional poisoning deaths occurred in the United States in 2005. Almost all of them were due to drugs. The poisoning death rate has been rising in the U.S. in recent years.
An estimated 703,702 patients were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2006 for unintentional poisonings. Almost 25% required hospitalization or transfer for a higher level of care.
In 2006, poison control centers reported about 2.4 million incidents where people were exposed to poison. About 85% of these exposures were unintentional, and more than 92% occurred in the home.
Just over half the poison exposures reported to poison control centers affect children younger than six years; exposures in this group commonly involve cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning substances, pain relievers, topical medications, foreign bodies, cough and cold preparations, and plants. Adult exposures often include pain relievers, sedatives, or cleaning substances.
The nationwide toll-free number for poison control centers, 1-800-222-1222, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The centers can provide assistance with poisoning emergencies, answer questions about a specific poison, and provide information about poison prevention.
Information about National Poison Prevention Week is available from the National Poison Prevention Week Council* website. CDC also has information about poisonings, how to prevent poisonings, a recent report on unintentional medication exposures in young children, and a report on unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2004.
Click here to listen to our Podcast on poisonings and how to prevent them.