News Release: School of Medicine

Mar. 16,  2009

Emory Pediatrician Urges Fast Action Awareness During National Poison Prevention Week

News Article ImageIn a Poison Emergency: Call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week - In Metro-Atlanta, 404-616-9000, Outside Metro-Atlanta, 1-800-222-1222.


  • Georgia Poison Center's Day at the Capitol
  • Display of potentially poisonous products that can be mistaken for food
  • Display of Proclamation designating March 15-21, 2009 as National Poison Prevention Week in Georgia

Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington Street, Atlanta

When it comes to poison prevention, quick action could save a life!  That's the main message Robert Geller, MD associate professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Georgia Poison Center wants to get out during National Poison Week March 15 – 21, 2009.

National Poison Prevention Week, the third week in March each year, is a week nationally designated to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them.  

A poison is anything that causes sickness or death if you eat it, breathe it or get it in your eyes or on your skin. The potential for danger is great with potential "poisons" all around us in everyday household products, plants and even the air we breathe. Poisoning continues to be one of the leading causes of injury and death the United States. Each year more than 150,000 Georgians are poisoned.  When a poisoning emergency occurs all men, women, children even pets in the state are covered around the clock by the fast action response of Georgia Poison Center. 

"Poisonings have been on the rise in recent years, and the message we want to stress everyday not just during this national awareness week is act fast!" says Geller.

"If you think someone has been poisoned call the Georgia Poison Center immediately. 1-800-222-1222 the number for the Georgia Poison Center should be beside every phone in every house in Georgia – it's that important," says Geller.

Georgia Poison Center is a part of the Grady Health System and operates under the medical supervision of Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. Operating since 1970, a dedicated staff of highly trained professionals including physicians, toxicologists, registered nurses, registered pharmacists, educators, computer specialists and epidemiologists provide 24-hour poison emergency treatment information for the medical diagnosis and treatment of human and animal poisoning.

The Georgia Poison Center is one of 58 centers nationwide and the only one in Georgia to be certified as a Regional Poison Center by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In 2008, the Georgia Poison Center answered more than 93, 000 poison exposure calls. Harmful and even fatal poisonings that affect children, adults and pets are often caused by the misuse of medications, cleaning products, cosmetics, plants, food, and pesticides. 

Providing free, timely, advice and information to parents, child care providers, pharmacists, nurses, and doctors, the Center plays a significant role in reducing the cost of treatment and the severity of poisonings where time is of essence.  In addition the Georgia Poison Center provides valuable outreach and educational programs aimed at increasing awareness of poison prevention and first-aid.

"Knowing what to do to prevent poisonings and knowing what to do when a poisoning is suspected is vital in reducing the number of unintentional poisonings in Georgia," says Geller.

The Georgia Poison Center is urging Georgians to use this week to be sure your home is poison-proofed and share poison prevention tips with the children and adults in your communities.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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