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Emerging Hazards

AAPCC works with America's 55 poison control centers to track poisonings and their sources, including household products, food and beverages, chemicals in the workplace and home, environmental toxins, drugs and medicine, and animal and insect bites and stings. Click on a topic below to review recent data from the National Poison Data System (NPDS) on novel substances, emerging hazards, and outbreaks.

Before reviewing the alerts, please read these important notes about poison control center data.

E-Cigarettes and Liquid Nicotine

The experts at America's poison control centers continue to be concerned about exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine.

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Hand Sanitizer

The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer ranges from 40% to 95%. A  child ingesting any more than a taste of hand sanitizer could be at risk for alcohol poisoning. 

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Laundry Detergent Packets 

Highly concentrated “single-load liquid laundry packets” can cause serious harm to young children. 

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Opioid (Narcotic) Pain Medications

NPDS statistical analyses indicate that all analgesic exposures including opioids and sedatives are increasing year over year. 

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Synthetic Cannabinoids

Use of synthetic cannabinoids, or “synthetic marijuana” can cause dangerous health effects including psychotic episodes and seizures. 

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Important notes about poison control center data:

AAPCC maintains the National Poison Data System (NPDS) , the national database of information logged by the country’s regional poison control centers serving all 50 United States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and territories. Case records in this database are from self-reported calls: they reflect only information provided when the public or healthcare professionals report an actual or potential exposure to a substance, request information, or request educational materials. As such:

  •  AAPCC is not able to completely verify the accuracy of every report made to member centers.
  • Additional exposures may go unreported to poison control centers and data referenced from the AAPCC should not be construed to represent the complete incidence of national exposures to any substance(s).
  • Poison control call volume about any given substance is influenced by the public’s awareness of the hazard or even the Poison Help hotline itself, which are heavily influenced by both social and traditional media coverage.
  • Poison control data are considered preliminary and are subject to change until the dataset for a given year has been locked.
  • AAPCC is continuously working to update the NPDS substance coding taxonomy to better serve the needs of AAPCC members and surveillance partners. As a result, substances may be reclassified within NPDS’ coding hierarchy, and case counts may change. This is particularly true for novel or emerging substances.

The term “exposure” means someone has had contact with the substance in some way; for example, ingested, inhaled, or absorbed a substance by the skin or eyes, etc. Exposures do not necessarily represent poisonings or overdoses.


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