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EPA Reminds Communities How to Prevent Unintentional Pesticide Poisonings

Release Date: 03/15/2007
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, (202) 564-4355 / jones.enesta@epa.gov Lina Younes, (202) 564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov

(3/15/07) Every 13 seconds, a U.S. poison control center receives a call about an unintentional poisoning. In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24), EPA is reminding families how to take precaution and properly use and store household pesticides to avoid poisonings.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers data show that more than 50 percent of the 2 million poisoning incidents each year involve children younger than six years old. In addition, poison centers reported more than 70,000 calls made to poison centers with concerns about potential exposure to common household pesticides (potential exposures do not necessarily represent a poisoning).

EPA observes National Poison Prevention Week each year to increase awareness of the danger to children of unintentional poisonings from pesticides and household products, and to encourage parents and caregivers to lock up products that could potentially harm children.

More recently, EPA proposed measures to reduce risks to children associated with rat poison. These products are an important tool for public health pest control, but current marketing and use practices have been associated with unintentional exposures to thousands of children each year. Children in low-income, inner-city families are particularly at risk since pest pressures tend to be greater in densely populated areas. To minimize children's exposure, EPA is proposing that all rat poison bait products be marketed in tamper-resistant bait stations with solid bait blocks (as opposed to small pellets that children can ingest).

More information on the proposed measures to reduce risks associated with rodenticides: epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/rodenticides_fs.htm

More information on National Poison Prevention Week: epa.gov/pesticides/health/ppweek-lockit.htm

The national poison center hotline is 1-800-222-1222.