National Poison Prevention Week Starts On March 20 2022
March 20 marks the first day of spring this year as well as the start of National Poison Prevention Week. This weeklong event is intended to raise awareness on the dangers of poisons, ultimately to reduce the number of poisonings that occur, especially to children. Annually, there are over 2 million human exposure cases with over 45 percent of these poison exposures involving children younger than 6 years old. For instance, a WebMD article, titled Kids Still Being Poisoned by Detergent Pods, cites that from 2012 to 2017, poison control centers fielded nearly 73,000 phone calls related to poisoning from detergent pods, roughly one call every 42 minutes, and almost 92 percent involved kids under 6.
Most poison exposure cases, roughly 93 percent, occur in the home while other sources of exposure include the workplace or outdoors. Over 83 percent of poison exposures involve the ingestion of a substance while 17 percent occur through the skin, mucous membranes of the eyes, or by inhalation. Common exposure risks include household cleaning products, medications, cosmetics, and personal care products that, over time, tend to accumulate in the home, oftentimes within easy reach of a child. Additionally, exposure risks can occur in the form of carbon monoxide exposure, indoor and outdoor plants including mushrooms, stinging insects as well as spider and snake bites. Considering the latter two, there are 3 venomous spiders (the brown recluse, the black widow, and the hobo spider) and about 30 species of venomous snakes in the United States.
National Poison Prevention Week was established by Congress in 1961 with the National Poison Prevention Week Council started a year later to sponsor the awareness campaign promoting community involvement in poisoning prevention held every year in the third full week of March. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) website provides a panoply of publicity materials and resources. The Resources tab towards the top of the HRSA page contains links to videos, toolkits, a Poison Control Centers 101 Program, and a long list of external links. The toolkits link offers seasonal tips for the four seasons as well as a holidays tips sheet. With spring about to blossom, the tips sheet for that season covers spring cleaning considerations for household cleaners and other chemical products along with tips on pesticides and mushrooms as helpful information to keep your family safe when working on the yard. As one of the toolkits infographics states, “Poison centers save Americans more than $1.8 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity,” not to mention saving lives.
So, check out the HRSA’s National Poison Prevention Week page to plan and engage in activities to raise awareness on poison control and prevention. You can even contact your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222 to find out what activities are happening in your area and how you can get involved. Poisoning prevention is certainly “something to believe in” that’s worthy of promotion any time of year but especially during National Poison Prevention Week.