National Poison Prevention Week is March 17-23, 2013. More than two 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 six. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.
The danger with poisons is that they are everywhere. Common household products that could seriously hurt a person include:
- bath and kitchen disinfectants and sanitizers, including bleach
- household cleaning or maintenance products, such as drain cleaner, paints, or glues
- automotive products stored around the home, such as anti-freeze or windshield washer fluid
- health or beauty care products such as medicines, hair and nail products
- roach sprays and baits
- insect repellents
- rat and other rodent poisons
- weed killers
- products used to kill mold or mildew
- flea and tick shampoos, powders, and dips for pets
- swimming pool chemicals
So, what can you do to keep your household members safe from poisons? Here are some tips from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Always store pesticides and other household chemical products in a locked cabinet or garden shed away from both children and pets.
- Read the product label first and follow the directions to the letter.
- Use the safest possible cleaning products. Look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label on products.
- Never leave pesticides and other household chemical products unattended when you are using them.
- Re-close pesticides and other household chemical products if interrupted during application (e.g., phone call, doorbell, etc.).
- Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
- Never transfer pesticides and other household chemical products to containers that may be mistaken for food or drink.
- Remove children, pets, toys, bottles and pacifiers before applying pesticides (inside or outside the home). Follow label directions to determine when children and pets can return to the area that has been treated.
- To protect children and pets from exposure to mouse and rat poison, use products with a tamper-resistant bait station.
- Never use illegal pesticides (e.g., Tres Pasitos, unregistered Insecticidal Chalk). These products have not been reviewed by EPA and their use may pose a danger to public health. Always look for an EPA Registration ID number on the label. (Example: EPA Reg. No. 500-123456)
- Get your home and child tested for lead.
- Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
- Program the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, in your phone. When accidents happen with pesticides, chemicals, medicine or household products, call Poison Help and get help right away from a local poison expert.
To learn more about ways to keep people of all ages safe and help prevent poisonings, visit the Poison Help Web site at www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov. In case of a poison emergency, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.