EPA Urges Families to Lock Up Household Chemicals, Pesticides

“Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons” is the message the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sending in conjunction with the Poison Prevention Week Council to keep poisonous substances out of the hands of children.

In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 14-20), EPA recommends that locking household cleaners, disinfectants, solvents and other materials is the best way to reduce accidental poisoning among children.

“Proper and safe storage, use and supervision of all household products can substantially reduce exposures in the home,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “Poison Prevention Week serves as a reminder for everyone to keep pesticides away from children, and to read and follow all labels to minimize the potential dangers from pesticides.”

EPA promotes poison prevention each year to increase public awareness of the potential danger to children from pesticides and other household products. In 2008, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that more than half of the 2 million poisoning incidents each year involve children younger than six years old. Leading causes of poisoning include cosmetics such as perfume and nail polish, deodorant and soap, household cleaning products and medications.

Anyone who has been exposed to a pesticide or other toxic substance and may be experiencing non-life-threatening symptoms should call the National Poison Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and should call 911 in case of more serious exposures. In addition, EPA urges the public also to report all exposures to the product manufacturer (including the registration number found on the product label of all pesticide products registered by EPA). Registered manufacturers are required to report these incidents to EPA, and the agency uses the data to decide whether additional regulatory action is needed.

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