Accidental Deaths On The Rise: Poisoning Deaths Increasing Quickly

People! You are accidentally poisoning yourselves! What the hell? Stop it.

According to Consumer Reports, the second highest cause of accidental death is poisoning, and its the fastest growing, too. After car accidents, you’re more likely to accidentally poison yourself than anything else.

Uncool. Also of note: Deaths from accidental falls rank third and choking and drowning are fifth. In some states fire is number 5, so please check your smoke detectors.

Accidents also accounted for more than 24 million nonfatal injuries in 2005. The economic cost of all fatal and nonfatal injuries amounted to $625.5 billion nationally, or $5,500 per household. “Our research shows that when it comes to safety, most Americans are more concerned about being the victim of a random act of violence than they are about being seriously injured in an accident,” said [National Safety Council] President and CEO Alan McMillan. “The reality is that while we are at greater risk of experiencing an accidental injury, we have greater control over managing those risks.”

Be careful! Read the label. Get some Mr. Yuk stickers! Mr. Yuk rules.

Accidental deaths, a silent epidemic [Consumer Reports]
Mr. Yuk [Children’s Hospital Of Pittsburgh]


Edit Your Comment

  1. UpsetPanda says:

    How exactly does one accidentally poison oneself? “Ohhh no, now I’ve done it, I’ve accidentally swallowed drain cleaner…”

  2. obbie says:

    natural selection

  3. Nicholai says:
  4. Shadowfire says:

    Too much soap not rinsed out after washing dishes? Using an old lead tea kettle? Accidentally pouring anti-freeze into the pot instead of chicken broth? I mean, really… how does this happen?

  5. mattbrown says:


    bracelets! awesome!

  6. 3drage says:

    It’s because we are buying more products from China.

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    @Shadowfire: That’s funny because I was always warned by my parents to very cleanly rinse off dishes to the very best of my ability because of soap residue.

    I imagine that unless you’re a) an idiot b) blind or c) a sucky washer or d) all of the above on a constant basis, you can’t possibly forget to rinse or not rinse enough so that you ingest enough soap to make you so sick you get to go to the hospital or call in and become a statistic.

  8. Trai_Dep says:

    In this day and age, it’s good to see that we’ve got the gumption to poison ourselves instead of relying on the Chinese to do it for us.

  9. stpauliegirl says:

    Don’t they give out Mr. Yuk stickers anymore??? I remember once when I was an anklebiter sitting down with my parents and helping them label all the poisonous things in the house with them. Now, that’s fun with a purpose!

  10. TangDrinker says:

    I think people are od-ing on Tylenol. That’s probably why the president of the company comes on and says something like “if you can’t read the *#@& instructions, I’d rather you didn’t take it at all” in their commercials.

    Either that or it’s from the fruity scented cleanser that smells and looks so much like a Lik m Stick that you just can’t resist…

  11. strathmeyer says:

    Seriously, how are people poisoning themselves? Somebody’s gotta know? How are we supposed to prevent it if we don’t know how it’s occurring?

    And no, they don’t hand them out anymore: “However, at least two peer-reviewed medical studies (Fergusson 1982, Vernberg 1984) have suggested that Mr. Yuk stickers do not effectively keep children away from potential poisons and may even attract children.” []

    Luckily I have a stash.

  12. ne0shell says:

    Maybe I should stop licking the window sill….
    Using wd-40 to clean my toothbrush……
    bleach bombing the toilet with ammonia and bleach…

  13. azntg says:

    I can’t help poisoning myself… the older stuff were inadvertantly made with what turned out to be toxic and carcinogenic poisons and the newer stuff, were inadvertantly made with known poisons. Who’d a thunk it?

  14. nan says:

    Hey – that’s me!

  15. girly says:

    If you pursue the link:

    “The second leading cause of accidental death is poisoning, particularly from overdoses of over-the-counter, prescription and illicit drugs.”

  16. FLConsumer says:

    @MissJ: Probably the same way people “accidentally” get pregnant.

  17. FLConsumer says:

    @azntg: Yeah, but at least that stuff worked. The newer stuff doesn’t work worth a damn.

  18. dayjayvw says:

    it’s all these toys with lead paint

  19. RokMartian says:

    People with OCD, mainly. You alphabetize everything and that’s what happens when you store your Prestone next to the Powerade.

  20. SkyeBlue says:

    How do you accidently poison yourself? I see it all the time on those “Cold Crime Cases” TV shows.
    Somehow anti-freeze accidently ends up in the husband’s lime green jello and the wife has no idea how it got in there or arsenic ends up in the wife’s prescription medicine and the husband has no idea how that could have happened?

  21. Youthier says:

    According to the article, it’s ODing on over-the-counter meds.

    This drives me crazy. People freak out about every little thing they put in their mouth – this has a hair in it, there’s a bug, etc. – but as long as it was approved by the FDA, then swallow an entire bottle, right?

  22. alilz says:

    Accidentally posionings can happen when one person reuses drink bottles (coke bottles, milk jugs, etc) for cleaners, anti freeze, and other chemicals, and another person doesn’t know and drinks from the bottle. Also the article says that people are taking too much over the counter medicine, probably thinking “well if one is good 3 is better!”, taking medications to frequently, or accidentally mixing them with mediciations that might cause a reaction.

  23. Mary says:

    I have those bracelets! It’s the only cause I’ll willingly wear a little rubber bracelet for ; )

    Seriously, when I was a kid I used to drink anything I could get my hands on, and my parents had to call poison control a lot. So Mr. Yuk was a FIXTURE in my house. And guess what: he worked! Yeah, I also put the stickers all over everything else, but I knew that if Mr. Yuk was there I shouldn’t ingest it.

    I’d say the problems with Mr. Yuk stickers not working result in parents assuming you can slap a sticker on something and ignore it, instead of as STPAULIEGIRL pointed out, sitting down with your kids and labeling together while talking about not drinking bad things.

    Mr. Yuk needs to make a comeback.

    As for people accidentally poisoning themselves…I can see it. I mean, I can’t figure out exactly how it would happen, but I’ve heard of stranger things.

  24. kris in seattle says:

    goddammit, do we have to have a bracelet for EVERYTHING?!

  25. mrearly2 says:

    Many times, people poison themselves with the help of their medical doctors. Prescription and OTC drugs should be included in the list of poisons–after all, drugs are poisons, and should rarely be used.

  26. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @HeyHermano: Yep; you can also think of it as another manifestation of I-Don’t-Need-To-Know-Squat Syndrome.

  27. tcolberg says:

    Damn, that’s what they get for trying to make the muriatic acid more hip– they made it look too much like Juicy Juice.