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U.S. Agency Puts Poison Prevention in Spotlight

SUNDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Parents and caregivers can help reduce the risk of accidental poisonings by storing pesticides and household chemicals in locked cabinets out of children's reach, experts say.

Each year, more than 145,000 reports made to U.S. poison control centers involve pesticides and disinfectants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That includes about 65,000 children aged 5 and younger who are accidentally exposed to pesticides each year. More than 10,000 of those incidents involve mouse and rat poisons, the EPA pointed out in a news release issued during National Poison Prevention Week, March 17-23.

"Poison Prevention Week is a time to raise awareness and strengthen prevention efforts to empower parents and caregivers with information about simple steps that can be taken to prevent poisonings," James Jones, acting assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in the news release.

Because more than 90 percent of poisonings happen in homes, the EPA offers the following prevention tips for adults:

  • Keep all pesticides and other chemical products, such as disinfectants, in a locked cabinet.
  • When mouse and rat poison is used, be sure products have a tamper-resistant bait station to help prevent children and pets from exposure.
  • Do a room-by-room check of your home to see where there are potential poisoning hazards and then take action to correct them.
  • Make sure containers with child-resistant lids are closed properly after use.
  • Keep pesticides and other household chemical products in their original packaging. Don't transfer them into containers that may be mistaken for food or drink.
  • Program the Poison Help Center number, 1-800-222-1222, in your phone.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about preventing poisoning.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, news release, March 18, 2013

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