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EPA Warns, “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons,” in Observance of Poison Prevention Week

EPA Warns, “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons,” in Observance of Poison Prevention Week

Photo: Accidental poisoning can happen in seconds

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National awareness campaign planned for March 20-26 to reduce poisonings in U.S.

In ongoing effortsto protect people’s health,the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is collaborating with the Poison Prevention Week Council to encourage the public to keep poisonous substances out of the hands of children. In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 20-26), EPA recommends that locking household cleaners, disinfectants, solvents and other materials is the best way to reduce accidental poisoning among children.

“Because it takes only a split second for a child to be poisoned, we want everyone to remember the theme ‘Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons.’ Most exposures that occur in the home can be prevented or substantially reduced through proper and safe storage, use and supervision of all household products,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Poison Prevention Week serves as a reminder for everyone to keep pesticides locked up and away from children, and to read and follow all labels to minimize the potential dangers from pesticides.”

EPA promotes poison prevention each year to increase public awareness of the potential danger to children from pesticides and other household products. In 2009, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that more than half of the 2.4 million poisoning incidents each year involve children younger than six years old.Leading causes of poisonings include cosmetics such as perfume and nail polish, deodorant and soap, household cleaning products and medications.

Adults are also susceptible to poisoning (intentional or unintentional), but from generally different sources, including pain medicines, sedatives (drugs to reduce anxiety), sleeping pills, antipsychotics used to treat mental illness, household cleaning products, antidepressants, cardiovascular drugs (drugs to treat heart disease) and alcohols.

Anyone who has been exposed to a pesticide or other toxic substance and may be experiencing non-life-threatening symptoms should call the National Poison Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222. In case of more serious exposures,call 911. In addition, EPA urges the public to report all pesticide exposures to the product manufacturer (including the registration number found on the product label of all pesticide products registered by EPA). Registered manufacturers are required to report these incidents to EPA, and the agency uses the data to decide whether additional regulatory action is needed.

More information on poison prevention: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/poisonprevention.htm