National Poison Prevention Week is observed in the United States the third week of March. The goal of the week is to raise awareness of the risk of being poisoned by household products, medicines, pesticides, plants, bites and stings, food poisoning, and fumes. Awareness being duly raised, it is hoped that this will prevent poisoning.
On September 26, 1961, the 87th United States Congress passed a joint resolution (Pub.L. 87–319) requesting that the President of the United States proclaim the third week of March National Poison Prevention Week. On February 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy responded to this request and proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week. The first National Poison Prevention Week was therefore observed in March 1962.
More than two million potential poison exposures are reported every year to American poison control centers. More than 90% of these poisoning occur in the home, and a majority of these occur with children five years of age and younger.
Though calls regarding children still make up more than half of all calls to poison control centers, they only account for a small percent of the deaths due to poisoning. Poisoning of adults is on the rise in our nation and only stands behind motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths.
Over 1000 Americans die from poisoning every year.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers, representing the poison control center network of the United States, offers the following poison prevention tips:
Call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison control center, anywhere in the United States. The call is free, private, 24/7/365, and expert help is available in more than 150 languages.
The National Poison Week Prevention Week Council was established in early 1962 to oversee the national observation of National Poison Prevention Week.
As of August 2011, the National Poison Prevention Week Council included representatives of the following organizations: