Poison Control Centers provide public poison prevention and education, epidemic surveillance, and a free 24-hour hotline staffed by experts, in addition to other services. The Poison Control Center (PCC) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) along with the Pittsburgh Poison Center comprise the entire Poison Control System of Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the Poison Control Center at CHOP made and received over 92,000 calls. Approximately 60 percent of the calls involved exposure of children and teens to potentially harmful drugs, pharmaceutical products, and everyday items such as household cleaning products, cosmetics, over-the-counter medications, and arts and crafts supplies.
The value of poison control centers is well documented, illustrated by a 2012 report from The Lewin Group. The report estimated that each dollar spent on poison center services resulted in a savings of almost $14, primarily because 85 percent of the callers don’t go on to use an emergency department or need a 911 call and response.
Despite the documented value of poison control, the Poison Control System in Pennsylvania has seen a significant decline in state and federal funding support in the last decade, with the system losing almost 45 percent of Pennsylvania state funding alone since 2009. Federal funding now accounts for 18 percent of the PCC operating budget, and CHOP provides over $1.2 million to maintain its operation.
CHOP actively advocates at the state and federal levels for poison control funding. Please consider joining us by reaching out to your state representative to convey the importance of poison control services to children.
For more information about poison control center advocacy, please contact our Government Affairs & Advocacy team.