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News Releases

For Immediate Release

He May Not Be Pretty, But He Is Good At His Job: Mr. Yuk Spreads the Message of Poison Prevention Around the Globe and Helps Save Lives

A new survey funded by the federal government shows more than three out of four people recognize Mr. Yuk’s scowling green face, which has been a symbol for poison prevention around the world since being created in 1971 at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The beacon of poison prevention, Mr. Yuk has proved to have staying power and is well-known nationally. In a survey sponsored by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), more than 75 percent of the respondents recognized that Mr. Yuk represented poison control.

Overall, the national consensus is that Mr. Yuk is a likeable mascot for poison control with almost 90 percent of those surveyed saying so. Also, the majority of those surveyed believe that Mr. Yuk is a good representation of the services offered by their local poison center.

“Since Mr. Yuk is the most commonly used poison education symbol in the country, kids everywhere recognize him as something to stay away from,” said Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the PPC since 1983. “Thanks to poison prevention education and Mr. Yuk, the number of accidental poisonings has been greatly reduced and the ability to deal with accidental poisonings is greatly increased.”

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 25-30 children nationwide die each year from accidental poisoning and more than 2.4 million poisonings are reported to poison centers across the United States annually.

Originally created as a bright green sticker to be used to deter children from poisons around the house, Mr. Yuk’s face now adorns posters, educational materials and wrist bands that are used around the world. To most Americans, the risk of poisoning doesn’t register as a concern, according to Krenzelok.

“People need to understand that accidental poisonings can happen in an instant. It only takes a moment for a child to be accidentally poisoned, so all caretakers must know who to call in a poisoning emergency,” Krenzelok said. Mr. Yuk stickers display the number for the national toll-free poison help telephone number, 1-800-222-1222. The hotline connects a caller anywhere in the nation to the nearest poison control center.

The PPC at Children’s answers calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week and serves nearly 5.1 million residents in 44 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The center receives approximately 119,000 calls annually. For more information, please visit


Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 15, 2008
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Last Update
February 15, 2008