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Quick Facts on Poison Exposures in the United States

Facts On Poison Exposures:

  • On average, poison centers handle one poison exposure every 13 seconds.
  • Over two million poison exposures were reported to local poison centers in 2005.
  • Most poisonings involve everyday household items such as medicines, cleaning supplies, cosmetics and personal care items.
  • 92.7 percent of all poison exposures occur in the home.
  • 91.3 percent of exposures involve only one poisonous substance.
  • 83.8 percent of poison exposures are unintentional.
  • 76.7 percent of poison exposures involve ingestion of a poisonous substance. Other causes include breathing in poison gas, getting foreign substances in the eyes or on the skin, and bites and stings.
  • 73.5 percent of all exposures are treated on the site where they occurred, generally the patientís home with phone advice and assistance from local poison control experts.

Children and Poison

  • 50.7 percent of poison exposures occur in children under the age of six.
  • The most common forms of poison exposure for children under the age of six are cosmetics and personal care products (13.4%), cleaning substances (9.8%), analgesics (8.2%) and foreign bodies (7.4%).
  • Although children younger than six years were involved in more than 50% of poisoning reports, they account for just 1.9% of the fatalities.

Teens and Poison

  • More than 171,000 cases of poison exposure were reported among teenagers in 2005.
  • In children between ages 13 and 19, the majority of poison exposures (54.5 %) involve girls. In children under 13, the reverse is true, with the majority of these exposures involving boys. 89.6 percent of reported adolescent deaths from poison exposure were due to intentional poison exposure such as suicide or drug abuse.

Adults and Poison

  • Over 8, 500 poison exposures in 2005 occurred in pregnant women.
  • Over 70 percent of all poison fatalities occur in adults ages 20 to 59.
  • While adults 60 and over account for just over 5 percent of poison exposures, they account for 16.3 percent of the fatalities.

Data from the 2005 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poisoning and Exposure Database, which is complied by the American Association of Poison Control Centers in cooperation with the majority of U.S. poison centers. Since 1983, the data from the database have been used to identify hazards early, focus prevention education, guide clinical research and direct training. A full report of data through 2005 is available on the web at www.aapcc.org.