Poison control center

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A poison control center is an information facility, primarily reached by telephone but also by other communications media, which provides expert information, to laymen and health care professionals, on the handling of potential and actual poisoning. A number of common household poisonings can receive useful and immediate treatment, possibly avoiding an ambulance or emergency room service.

Poison control centers, usually staffed by clinical pharmacists and pharmacologists, often have more detailed information on poisons, especially those contained in commercial products, than many emergency physicians. The American Association of Poison Control Centers "owns and manages a large database holding information from all information and human poison exposure case phone calls into all poison centers across the country. This database is called the National Poison Data System (NPDS) and it is the only near real-time comprehensive poisoning surveillance database in the United States. "[1] Some centers are affiliated with large teaching hospitals.

These centers are not intended to advise on the assessment and management of potential and actual hazardous material releases, but there are other 24-hour services, such as the chemical industry's CHEMTREC, intended to assist firefighters and other emergency responders.


  1. National Poison Data System, American Association of Poison Control Centers