- Poison control center
A poison control center (PCC) or poison information center (PIC) is a
medicalfacility that is able to provide immediate, free, and expert treatment advice and assistance over the telephonein case of exposure to poisonous or hazardous substances. Poison Control Centers answer questions about potential poisons in addition to providing treatment management advice about household products, medicines, pesticides, plants, bitesand stings, food poisoning, and fumes. More than 75%cite book | editor = Goldfrank LR, Flomenbaum NE, Lewin NA, Howland MA, Hoffman RS, Nelson LS | title = Goldfrank’s toxicologic emergencies | year = 2002 | publisher = McGraw-Hill | id = ISBN 0-07-136001-8] of poison exposure cases are managed simply by phone, greatly reducing the need for costly emergency room and doctor visits.cite journal | author = Miller T, Lestina D | title = Costs of poisoning in the United States and savings from poison control centers: a benefit-cost analysis | journal = Ann Emerg Med | volume = 29 | issue = 2 | pages = 239–45 | year = 1997 | pmid = 9018189 | doi = 10.1016/S0196-0644(97)70275-0] In most countries around the world poison control centers can be reached toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
World War IIthere was a proliferation of new drugs and chemicalsin the marketplace, similarly suicide and childhood poisonings from these agents drastically increased. Around this time up to half of all accidents in children were poisonings with a substantial number of fatalities. [cite journal | author = Grayson R | title = The poison control movement in the United States | journal = Ind Med Surg | volume = 31 | issue = | pages = 296–7 | year = 1962 | pmid = 13901334] These factors led to the medical community developing a response to both unintentional and intentional poisonings. In Europein the late 1940s special toxicology wards were set up, initial wards were started in Copenhagenand Budapest, and the Netherlandsbegan a poison information service.cite journal | author = Govaerts M | title = Poison control in Europe | journal = Pediatr Clin North Am | volume = 17 | issue = 3 | pages = 729–39 | year = 1970 | pmid = 5491436] In the USAthe first poison information center was started in Chicagoin 1953. [cite journal | author = Press E, Mellins R | title = A poisoning control program | journal = Am J Public Health | volume = 44 | issue = 12 | pages = 1515–25 | year = 1954|pmid = 13207477] By 1957there were 17 poison control centers in the US, with the Chicago center serving as a model; these centers dealt mainly with physician enquiries by giving ingredient and toxicity information about products, along with treatment recommendations. Over time the poison control centers started taking calls from the general public. The majority of poison centers were not part of a patient treatment facility; they strictly provided information.
In 1958 the
American Association of Poison Control Centers(AAPCC) was founded to promote cooperation between poison centers in different cities and to standardize the operation of these centers. An additional part of the AAPCC's activities was poison prevention and education programs for both physicians and the general public. In 1968 the American Academy of Clinical Toxicologists (AACT) was established by a group of medical doctors. The AACT’s main objective was to apply principles of toxicology to patient treatment and improve the standard of care on a national basis. In the 1960s and 1970s a rapid proliferation of poison centers emerged and by 1978 there were 661 centers in the USA. This trend reversed during the 1980s and 1990s with a number of centers closing or merging. In 2000 there was 51 certified centers in the USA.cite book | editor = Ford MD, Delaney KA, Ling LJ, Erickson T. | title = Clinical toxicology | year = 2001 | publisher = WB Saunders Company | id = ISBN 0-7216-5485-1] Today there is 61 centres operating.cite journal |author=Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR, Green J, Rumack BH, Heard SE |title=2006 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS) |journal=Clin Toxicol (Phila) |volume=45 |issue=8 |pages=815–917 |year=2007 |month=December |pmid=18163234 |doi=10.1080/15563650701754763 |url=]
A similar movement evolved in Europe but unlike the American movement the majority were centralized toxicology treatment centers with integrated poison information centers. The French developed an inpatient unit for the treatment of poisoned patients in the late 1950s. In
Englandthe National Poison Information Service was developed at Guy's Hospitalunder Dr Roy Goulding. At around the same time Dr Henry Mathew started a poison treatment center in Edinburgh. [cite journal | author = Proudfoot A | title = Clinical toxicology—past, present and future | journal = Hum Toxicol | volume = 7 | issue = 5 | pages = 481–7 | year = 1988|pmid = 3056845] In 1964 the European Association for Poison Control Centers was formed at Tours, France.cite journal |author=Persson H |title=European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists |journal=J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. |volume=30 |issue=2 |pages=v–vii |year=1992 |pmid=1588665 |doi=10.3109/15563659209038627 |url=] Australasiancenters were also established in the 1960s. The New Zealandcenter started in Dunedinin December 1964, while in Australia, the New South WalesPoisons Information Center was established in 1966. [cite web | last = | first = | title =History of the New Zealand Poison Centre | publisher = New Zealand National Poison Centre | date = | url =http://poisons.co.nz/history.php?PHPSESSID=448b2d797d85627dffcff23a86c57505 | accessdate = 2008-01-20] [cite web | last = | first = | title =About the NSW Poisons Information Centre | publisher = NSW Poisons Information Centre | date = 14 January 2008| url =http://www.chw.edu.au/poisons/about.htm | accessdate = 2008-01-20]
The American Association of Poison Control Centers manages a 24-hour hotline, which is continuously staffed by pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and poison information specialists who have received dedicated training in the field of toxicology. It has a TTY/TDD number for the hearing impaired. Poison educators across the country also offer poison prevention training and education sessions to community institutions, along with educational materials.
Rest of the world
Most countries have a poison control center with staffing similar to the American centers. A worldwide directory of poison centers is available from the
World Health Organization's website. [cite web | last = The International Programme on Chemical Safety| first = | title =World directory of poisons centres | publisher = World Health Organization| date = | url =http://www.who.int/ipcs/poisons/centre/directory/en/ | accessdate = 2008-01-20]
* [http://www.eapcct.org/ The European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists]
* [http://www.AAPCC.org/ American Association of Poison Control Centers]
* [http://www.poisonsinfo.nsw.gov.au/ New South Wales (Australia) Poisons Information Centre]
* [http://www.1-800-222-1222.info Web site for 1-800-222-1222 US Poison Control Center emergency contact number]
* [http://www.who.int/ipcs/poisons/centre/directory/en/ World directory of poisons centers]
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