WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) in introducing a resolution designating the week of March 15 through March 21, 2020, as “National Poison Prevention Week.” The resolution encourages communities across the United States to raise awareness of the dangers of poisoning and promote poison prevention. The resolution also expresses gratitude for the individuals who operate and support local poison control centers, which educate the public on poison safety and promote the use of the Poison Help hotline.
There are currently 55 poison control centers in the U.S. Ohio is home to two, including the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Central Ohio Poison Control Center of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
“Ohio is the proud home to two Poison Control Centers and I’m grateful for the work each of them does to keep our communities safe,” said Brown. “As we recognize National Poison Prevention Week, we must continue to support the work of the CDC and ensure our Poison Control Centers have the resources they need to protect Ohioans.”
A number of organizations have endorsed the senator’s resolution, including National Children’s Hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, the American Association of Poison Control Centers and the Urgent Care Association.
“On behalf of the Ohio Poison Control Centers we want to thank Senator Brown and Senator Scott for their tremendous support and recognition of our program. Saving lives and keeping communities safe from poisons continues to be our primary mission. Our dedicated staff of poison experts and educators remain committed to working around the clock and providing exceptional care to Ohio residents. To reach us, or your local Poison Control Center, call the free and confidential Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222,” said Alexandra Funk, Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center.
Recent reports indicate poison control centers have especially been overwhelmed with calls during the COVID-19 outbreak. The reported spikes are the result of more parents calling in after children mistakenly ingest hand sanitizer.
Brown has long been working to elevate the work and research of Poison Control Centers, including successfully fighting for the regulation of powdered caffeine and finalizing tobacco deeming regulations.
Brown has also been pushing to address child risk and safety concerns of high-powered magnets. Brown sent a letter to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in December, pushing the CPSC to strengthen and prioritize protections for children, after an increase in reports of child injuries resulting from the ingestion of high-power magnets. Brown specifically requested CPSC take measures to address health and safety concerns of high-powered magnet sets, after a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling vacated the CPSC’s rule to remove high-powered magnet sets from the market, and remanded it to the CPSC to pursue further proceedings consistent with accurate and representative data requirements.
In 2014, a 19-month-old from Columbus, Ohio was misdiagnosed with a virus after ingesting multiple magnets and passed away the following day.
Brown’s resolution can be read here.