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. 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.

Mission

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.

Services

  • 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. Nearly 84% 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 91% 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 tool and downloadable app provide online help for acute, unintentional poisonings. Download the app on App Store or Google play to be prepared for a poison emergency.
  • Poison prevention education is delivered through:
    • Distribution of 1 million teaching prevention materials (stickers, magnets, brochures, DVDs, posters) for every child enrolled in a 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 36,000 subscribers.
    • A Facebook page (National Capital Poison Center) and Twitter account 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 nearly 3,800 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 64% 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.

Consult Volume (2016)

  • 80,073 consultations including:
    • telephone management for 39,212 human poison exposures and 1,394 pet poisonings
    • 27,158 human poison exposures managed online through webPOISONCONTROL®
    • 12,309 calls for medical, drug, or poison prevention information
    • 12,641 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

Staff

  • Director (a medical toxicologist)
  • Medical toxicologists (part time staff and consultants)
  • Clinical toxicologists 
  • Certified Specialists in Poison Information
  • Development Director & Treasurer
  • Executive Associate and Educators
  • Office & Outreach Manager
  • 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: pc@poison.org (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.

Get HELP ONLINE

or CALL 1-800-222-1222

Text POISON
 to 484848

Save the poison control number and the link to online help NOW! Text-to-save or download directly to save our vcard to your computer and smartphone contacts.

Download Poison Control vcard

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webPOISONCONTROL® Provides Expert Help Online for Many More Poison Exposures

Digital Triage Tool webPOISONCONTROL® Launches Comprehensive Upgrade

Take Poison Prevention Seriously

Flameless Candles or Tea Lights

Deadly Batteries 

First Online App for Poison Emergencies

National Poison Prevention Week 

webPOISONCONTROL Background

webPOISONCONTROL FAQ

webPOISONCONTROL Facts

webPOISONCONTROL® app images

State of Poison Control in the U.S.

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Get the App!

Download the free
webPOISONCONTROL® app.

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.

Donate Now

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.

Jingles

Poison Statistics

2013 outcome stats promo

National Poison Statistics

Local Poison Statistics

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

Statistics for DC metro area