(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2007) Over two million poisonings are reported each year to Poison Control Centers (PCCs) across the country, including many incidents that involve pesticides. A fundamental step in poison prevention is eliminating unnecessary chemical use from your life, including pesticides. March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week.
According to the 2005 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poisoning and Exposure Database (the most recent report available), PCCs receive, on average, one call every 13 seconds concerning a suspected or actual human poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance. Of the over two million poisoning cases that were reported in 2005, almost 40 percent involved children under the age of three.
The 2005 report also shows over 100,000 pesticide exposures were reported to PCCs. Over 3,000 of these exposures resulted in moderate to fatal health outcomes. Recorded pesticide exposures were predominantly unintentional and almost half involved children under the age of six. It should also be taken into consideration that pesticide exposures are likely to be underreported, especially since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discontinued its pesticide incident monitoring system (PIMS) in 1981.
Taking into account that over 90 percent of poisonings reported to PCCs occur in the home, EPA advocates keeping pesticides and other household chemicals locked up, and stresses the importance of using products as directed.
Beyond Pesticides’ asks you to do something even safer for National Poison Prevention Week, and every week of the year — don’t use unnecessary chemicals, especially pesticides. Pesticide exposure is linked to many acute and chronic health problems, including asthma, breast cancer and obesity.
TAKE ACTION: Synthetic chemical pest control methods are hazardous to the environment and your health, and fail to treat the root cause of pest problems. Non-chemical pest control methods are not only effective, but also help to prevent poisoning of you, your family, your pets and your environment. See Beyond Pesticides’ alternatives factsheets to learn how to control common pests, or contact us at (202) 543-5450. To find a pest control provider near you, see Beyond Pesticides’ Safety Source directory. If you have been poisoned by exposure to pesticides, fill out a pesticide incident report form.