The Poison Control Center closely monitors the calls received each year, tracking the volume, reasons for exposure, top substances involved in poisonings and poison-associated fatalities. This data helps us identify poisoning trends and risks to the public, knowledge that informs community education, awareness and treatment efforts.
The following data is based on calls to the Poison Control Center from 2018. View the full 2018 report.
Calls to the Poison Control Center
The Poison Control Center receives thousands of calls each year from residents in Eastern Pennsylvania, the greater Philadelphia area and Delaware.
In 2018, the specialists at the Poison Control Center provided expert information, poisoning management guidance, and reassurance during approximately 90,000 calls. This included 50,154 human exposure cases resulting from poisoning concerns.
Poison exposure statistics
The Poison Control Center works to reduce the number of injuries and deaths associated with poison exposures. In order to achieve this goal and effectively educate the public on poisoning prevention and awareness, it is critical for our toxicology experts to identify new toxic threats and track poisoning epidemics.
We collect this data as part of a national, real-time surveillance system. Tracking this information helps us understand the common causes of poison exposures in both children and adults, and why these exposures happen, so that we can focus our efforts on prevention.
Home poisoning prevention education and advocacy remain important missions! Half of the poison exposure cases reported to the Poison Control Center involve young children and two-thirds involve children and teenagers. Intentional self-poisoning reports among adolescents and adults are more likely to lead to major toxicity or fatality, emphasizing the importance of mental health services for depression and substance abuse disorders.
Top substances involved in poisoning exposures
Each year, the Poison Control Center documents the substances involved in poisoning exposures and collects this data. Knowing what substances are causing the most poisonings in both children and adults helps us identify new threats, improve our public education, and tailor the poison-specific information we provide to healthcare professionals and public health agencies.
The following tables compare the most common substances involved in poison exposures in kids versus adults based on calls to the Poison Control Center in 2017.
Among both children and adults, the majority (83.5 percent) of exposures are unintentional.
Thankfully, many of the poison exposures that we help manage at our Poison Control Center to do not result in serious medical outcomes. Of the 50,154 human exposure calls reported to the Poison Control Center in 2018, 62 ended in fatality.