National Poison Prevention Week; A Four-Step Plan to Preventing Unintentional Poisonings

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein

Date March 19, 2015                               

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925 

National Poison Prevention Week

A Four-Step Plan to Preventing Unintentional Poisonings 

ERIE COUNTY, NY—It is National Poison Prevention Week 2015 (March 15th - 21st); the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) and the Poison Prevention Week Council (“PPWC”) are providing tips to prevent unintentional poison exposure in and around the home.Poison Prevention Week Logo

Last year the American Association of Poison Control Centers received about 3 million calls from consumers for poison exposure treatment or information. From the kitchen to the laundry room and out to the garage, consumers may find potential poison dangers. The PPWC and the ECDOH want to promote four key steps to help prevent unintentional poisonings in the home:

1.      Follow manufacturers’ recommendations and heed the product warnings

2.      Always keep the product sealed in its original, and often child-resistant, containers

3.      Store products out of a child’s sight and reach

4.      Call the free Poison Help Line (800-222-1222) in case of an exposure

“By educating local residents about preventative steps in the home and in their lives, I believe we can make serious progress in keeping our loved ones safe,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.  “It is vital that people arm themselves with basic information on poison prevention in the home, such as keeping chemicals out of the reach of children and carefully reading the labels and dosages on all products. The Council’s Four-Step plan is easy to remember and implement. By sharing these steps, we hope to increase awareness with parents and caregivers. I strongly urge all parents and caretakers to take an extra moment to ensure that products are stored properly and out of reach of children.”Upstate NY Poison Center logo

There are poison dangers associated with products such as medicines and various chemicals used in and around the home. This may include one-use detergent packets or “pods” that can be mistaken for candy; brightly colored and flavored e-cigarette nicotine and household products that can be abused by teens, such as glue, gasoline, nail polish remover, cleaning fluid, paint, lighter fluid, the air from whipped cream cans and hairspray.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the Nation’s poison centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of 6 years. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults. 

Public education, child-resistant closure requirements and the utilizing the expertise of the Poison Help Line staff helped reduce the number of pediatric poisoning deaths from about 400 per year nationally in the early 1970s to about 30 per year today. Still, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 80,000 children were taken to hospital emergency departments nationwide in 2013 due to poison-related exposure. Most of these poisoning incidents occur in the home. 

“Preventing unintentional poisoning incidents most definitely starts at home,” concluded Burstein.

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For more information

Erie County Department of Health –

New York State Department of Health –

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –

National Poison Prevention Week --

Upstate New York Poison Center --