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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.

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


Check Mark 24-hour telephone guidance for poisoning 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 poisonings when the Poison Center is consulted first, before other medical intervention is sought.

Check Mark Poison prevention education is delivered through:

1) Distribution of more than 1.1 million 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, Safe Kids coalitions, PTAs, school nurses, and classes for babysitters and new parents;

2) Media-based programs (press releases, interviews, public service announcements, radio and TV appearances).

3) The Poison Post®, the Center's eNewsletter, delivering updates on poisoning hazards to 36,000 readers.

4) A Facebook page (National Capital Poison Center) where time sensitive prevention and awareness messages are posted.

Check Mark 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. The Center has an active product surveillance program and has taken the lead in numerous regulatory petitions and industry and consumer alerts.

Check Mark 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.

Check Mark Health care cost-containment. The residents of the region save at least $18 million annually in unnecessary health care costs by using the Poison Center. By handling 65% of poison exposure cases over the phone at home, the Center 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.

56,896 telephone consultations including:
  Check Mark telephone management for 40,173 human poison exposures and 1,489 pet poisonings, including 12,631 consultations to physicians and nurses caring for the poisoned patients.
Check Mark 15,234 calls for medical, drug, or poison prevention information.

Check Mark DC
Check Mark Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
Check Mark Virginia:
  Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford Counties
Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park Cities
Check Mark National scope for product safety surveillance projects.

ANNUAL BUDGET: $3.3 million, supported through grants and contributions


Director (a medical toxicologist)
Medical Toxicologist (part time)
Clinical Toxicologist/Educator (part time)
12 Certified Specialists in Poison Information

Development Director
Executive Associate/Educator

Student Assistants

Network Administrator (part time)


Address: 3201 New Mexico Ave, Suite 310 Washington, DC 20016
Administrative Line: 202-362-3867
Emergency Line: 1-800-222-1222
Fax: 202-362-8377

      (If you email an inquiry, please provide your name, address and phone number.)
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