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News Releases

For Immediate Release

The Pittsburgh Poison Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Aims to Increase Awareness During Poison Prevention Month

Calls to the Poison Center have steadily increased over the past three years

As it celebrates its 32nd year of service, the Pittsburgh Poison Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is expanding its role as a national leader in the education and treatment of poisoning emergencies.

March is national Poison Prevention Month, and the Pittsburgh Poison Center (PPC) has partnered with Giant Eagle pharmacies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to raise awareness of poison centers throughout the region. Pharmacies in all three states will give away hundreds of thousands of sheets of Mr. Yuk stickers and other educational materials.

Such outreach efforts have lead to increased awareness of the PPC and its toll-free hotline, 1-800-222-1222, which was established last year and answers calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to Edward Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the PPC, the hotline connects a caller anywhere in the nation to the nearest poison center.

Due partially to this new hotline, calls to the Pittsburgh Poison Center (PPC) have continued to increase over the past three years. The PPC received 87,209 poisoning calls in 2002; 79,960 in 2001; and 75,937 in 2000.

“Poison centers are a valuable asset to the community. Not only do we provide life-saving information in the event of a poisoning, but with educational efforts like Mr. Yuk, we’re able to make families aware of household dangers and prevent poisonings,” Dr. Krenzelok said.

Other outreach efforts of the PPC include the development of a statewide monitoring system. The system tracks poison center calls to determine if there is any link to calls that could point to a large-scale poisoning such as a biological or chemical attack.

The PPC also has partnered with Mutual Aid, an ambulance service in Westmoreland County, to increase awareness about the poison center during Poison Prevention Month. Mutual Aid is sending sheets of Mr. Yuk stickers to all new subscribers. Also, the Allegheny County Medical Society is sending Mr. Yuk posters in its monthly bulletin to its 4,000 members.

Nationally, poisonings continue to increase, with nearly 2.3 million cases reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers in 2001, a 4.6 percent increase from the previous year. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the nation’s first poison center in Chicago.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008