March 19, 2012

HUD marks the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week

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Our guest blogger today is Loyedi Marie Waite, Marketing and Outreach Specialist, HUD’s Office Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control

March 18-24, 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW).  The key goal of NPPW is to create national awareness about the risk of injury or death due to poisoning.  From unintentional child poisonings with household products to prescription medicine abuse, poisonings and poisoning-related incidents have a nationwide reach.

HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) recognizes the importance of poison prevention, and urges the public to use the week as a reminder to be cautious with poisons. Also, OHHLCH wants to alert the public that poisonings can occur anywhere, at any time, to anyone. Here are a few facts:

  • Poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States – ahead of motor vehicle crashes and guns.
  • Every day in the U.S., more than 80 people die as a result of an unintentional poisoning, and nearly 2,000 are treated in an Emergency Room.
  • Poisonings don’t just happen to children; they happen to everyone (toddlers, teens, adults, and seniors).

Child-resistant packaging on medicines and household products, as well as the prohibition of lead-based paint in homes, are among poisoning prevention successes, and significantly contribute to improved safety.  However, emerging hazards involving pest control products, prescription medicine abuse, and button batteries have again reignited the need for increased awareness.

Do you have these products in your home: bleach, batteries, oven cleaner, shoe polish, toilet and drain cleaners, bug spray, mercury thermometer? All of these products are dangerous, especially for children.  OHHLHC has issued its Healthy Homes Program Guidance Manual which includes two of the Seven Principles of a Healthy Home – Keep it Safe, and Keep it Contaminant Free.  All products that may be dangerous, including poisons, should be kept in secure locations and out of the reach of children.  HUD stresses the importance of using these products safely by following the directions on the label.

The OHHLHC also stresses the importance of prevention.  However, accidents can still happen. Therefore, it is important to have accessible the Poison Help line number, 1-800-222-1222.  This number connects you to your local poison center. Why not program this number to your cell phone?  This is a number you want to have at your fingertips…just in case!

The themes for the Seven Days of Poisoning Prevention are:

  • Sunday: Poisonings Span a Lifetime
  • Monday: Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons
  • Tuesday: Poison Centers: Saving Lives 24/7
  • Wednesday: Take Your Medicines Safely
  •  Thursday: Home, Safe, Home
  • Friday: Poison Prevention Superhero: Share Your Stories
  • Saturday: 50 Ways to Prevent Poisonings

For more information about the daily themes, to participate in the poisoning awareness events, or to find a complete list of partners involved in the NPPW, visit

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