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EPA’s Campaign for National Poison Prevention Week Advises Parents to “Lock it Up”

Release Date: 03/18/2004
Contact Information:


Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819/ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

(03/18/04) National Poison Prevention Week will be observed from March 21-27 to increase awareness of the danger to children of accidental poisoning from pesticides and household products. This year, EPA’s childhood poison prevention campaign message is “Lock it Up,” to encourage parents and care givers to keep potentially harmful chemical products in a high cabinet out of the reach of children. U.S. poison control centers receive a call every 15 seconds about an accidental poisoning, with 40 percent of the calls involving a child under three years of age. The National Safety Council records show that over 50 percent of two million poisoning incidents each year involve children under six years of age. In most cases, children have swallowed common household substances such as prescription drugs, non-prescription pain killers, vitamins, cosmetics and personal care and cleaning products. These poisonings also involve house plants, tobacco products and alcohol. National Poison Prevention Week was first authorized by Congress in 1961 with the theme, "Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons!" Many poisonings happen when adults are distracted for just a few moments by the telephone or doorbell, which is why locking chemical products up is so important. Twenty-three thousand posters have been distributed to poison centers, clinics, hospitals and health departments by EPA. Local area Washington, D.C. commuters will also see the poster inside the local Metro trains this week. Parents and community organizations can obtain free poison prevention materials, including the “Lock It-Up” poster, “Ten Tips to Protect Children from Pesticide and Lead Poisonings,” and “Poison Prevention: Read the Label First Community Action Kit” by calling EPA’s Environmental Publications line at 1-800-490-9198. Additional information on Poison Prevention Week is available at: http://www.poisonprevention.org .