National Capital Poison Center At a Glance

The National Capital Poison Center, founded in 1980, is an independent, private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with The George Washington University Medical Center. In recognition of its high quality, the Center is accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The Center is not a government agency.


The mission of National Capital Poison Center is to prevent poisonings, save lives, and limit injury from poisoning. In addition to saving lives, Poison Control decreases health care costs of poisoning cases.


  • 24 hour telephone guidance for poison emergencies is provided, free of charge, by Certified Specialists in Poison Information, with back-up by board-certified physician toxicologists. The Specialist continues to follow each case, with frequent calls back, until all symptoms have resolved and parents and patients are reassured. It is the combination of experienced Certified Specialists in Poison Information and frequent telephone follow-up which makes treatment at home possible and safe. More than 83% of the poisonings in patients who call the Poison Center before going to a health care facility can be managed entirely at home, with telephone guidance from the Poison Center. This number increases to more than 90% for pediatric poison exposures when the Poison Center is consulted first, before other medical intervention is sought.
  • Online guidance for poison emergencies, through the tool. This online tool and downloadable app provide help for acute, unintentional ingestions, when symptoms haven't developed yet - the most common type of call to Poison Control. Download the app on App Store or Google play to be prepared for a poison emergency.
  • Poison prevention education is delivered through:
    • Distribution of more than 1.1 teaching prevention materials (stickers, magnets, brochures, DVDs, posters) for every child enrolled in every preschool or child care center and to all pediatrician offices and health clinics in the area. Materials are also distributed through hospitals, health fairs, fire departments, community and church groups school nurses, and classes for babysitters and new parents.
    • Media-based programs (press releases, interviews, public service announcements, radio and TV appearances).
    • The Poison Post, National Capital Poison Center's eNewsletter, delivery updates on poisoning hazards to 30,000 subscribers.
    • A Facebook page (National Capital Poison Center) where time sensitive prevention and awareness messages are posted. 
  • Hazard detection and elimination through poisoning surveillance. Poisonings are best prevented by detecting unusual hazards and working with industry and regulatory agencies to reformulate, repackage or ban unnecessarily hazardous products before children are needlessly injured. National Capital Poison Center has an active product surveillance program and has taken the lead in numerous regulatory petitions and industry and consumer alerts. 
  • Professional education in state-of-the-art treatment of poisonings is provided for more than 3,700 physicians, medical students, residents, nurses, and paramedics each year. 
  • Health care cost-containment. The residents of the Washington, DC metro area save at least $18 million annually in unnecessary health care costs by using Poison Control. By handling 65% of poison exposure cases at home, Poison Control helps poisoned patients avoid the cost (and stress of) unnecessary emergency department visits and ambulance runs. Studies have shown that poison centers are at least three times more cost effective than child safety seats, smoke detectors, or bicycle helmets.

Call Volume (2014)

  • 56,896 telephone consultations including:
    • telephone management for 40,173 human poison exposures and 1,489 pet poisonings
    • 15,234 calls for medical, drug, or poison prevention information
    • 12,531 consultations to physicians and nurses caring for poisoned patients.

Service Area

  • Washington, DC
  • Maryland Counties:
    • Montgomery
    • Prince Georges
  • Virginia Counties: 
    • Arlington
    • Fairfax
    • Fauquier
    • Loudoun
    • Prince William, 
    • Stafford 
  • Virginia Cities:
    • Alexandria
    • Fairfax
    • Falls Church
    • Manassas
    • Manassas Park
  • National scope: 
    • product safety surveillance
    • chem/bioterrorism surveillance
    • National Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333)
  • International scope:

Annual Budget
$3.3 million, supported through grants and contributions


  • Director (a medical toxicologist)
  • Medical toxicologists (part time staff and consultants)
  • Clinical toxicologists 
  • Certified Specialists in Poison Information
  • Development Director
  • Executive Associate/Educator
  • Student Assistants
  • Network Administrator (part time)

Other Information

  • Address: 3201 New Mexico Avenue, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20016
  • Administrative phone: 202-362-3867
  • Emergency phone: 1-800-222-1222
  • Fax: 202-362-8377
  • Email: (if you email an inquiry, please provide your name, address, and phone number)
  • Websites:

Poisoned? Get Expert Help.

Don't guess what you should do. Get accurate Poison Control answers online or by phone. Both are free and confidential.


or CALL 1-800-222-1222

Get the App!

Download the free

Available on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Subscribe to The Poison Post®

The Poison Post® is a free, quarterly e-newsletter delivering poison prevention tips right to your inbox!

The Poison Post

Support Us

Help us save lives! Donate now so we can continue to provide 24/7 expert help for poison emergencies. Your donation to our 501(c)(3) charitable organization will keep the phone lines open and the app online.

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Learn the Poison Prevention Jingles

Learn the Poison Help jingle in English or Spanish. Use these jingles to teach the Poison Control number: 1-800-222-1222. Available for download.


Poison Statistics

2013 outcome stats promo

Poison Statistics National

Local Poison Statistics

Local data are available for 2014 for the Washington, DC metro area.

Statistics for DC metro area