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You’re A “Toxic” One Mr. Grinch

Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »



 Since 1966 “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” has been a holiday favorite for young and old alike. In this 26 minute cartoon, the despicable and ruthless Mr. Grinch goes through extreme measures to dampen the Christmas spirit. To adequately describe the low down character traits of the green grouch, the song “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” was incorporated into the script.

 We IPC staff examined and analyzed the lyrics of this tune, and to our amazement we were astounded by the many references to household poisonings, and toxic, venomous, or otherwise noxious substances that would prompt people to call a poison control center for assistance. We came up with 28 such references.

 Please click here to listen to “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” while you read our blog

Click here for the orginal lyrics

Are there any others that you can find?

  1. Cactus – refers to poisonous indoor & outdoor plants
  2. Eel –refers to fish poisons such as puffer fish or paralytic shellfish, and also includes fish stings from certain aquarium pets, such as lion fish
  3. Bad Banana – Bacterial spoilage of food
  4. “Greasy” (black) – refers to crude oil derivatives, such as gasoline and paint thinners, which carry the warning label “harmful or fatal if swallowed”
  5. Your “heart” is an empty hole – there were a little over 97,000 accidental and intentional poisonings involving cardiovascular drugs reported to U.S. poison centers in 2010
  6. Spiders black widow and brown recluse spider envenomation
  7. Garlic – “all natural” herbal and homeopathic supplements and medications
  8. Vile someone who poisons another maliciously, e.g.,  the “Chicago Tylenol Murders” – seven people died after taking Tylenol that was poisoned with cyanide in 1982
  9. Termites pesticides used to kill ants, roaches, bed bugs, etc.
  10. Tender Sweetness – some poisons have attractive fragrances and taste sweet, therefore bittering agents such as Bitrex® are added to deter ingestion
  11. Crocodile reptile bites, i.e., poisonous and non-poisonous snakes
  12. Foul – the bad odor of certain poisons, e.g., the “rotten egg” odor of highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas
  13. Skunk – noxious odors, vapors, or gases, i.e., chloramine gas produced by mixing bleach and ammonia together, which may lead to coughing, vomiting, or difficulty breathing
  14. Unwashed Socks laundry detergents and other cleaning products
  15. Gunk – what we use drain cleaners for
  16. Stink, Stank, Stunk – objectionable abdominal gas and diarrhea associated w/ food poisoning
  17. Sots – a person intoxicated by alcohol and all its substitutes used in desperation, such as rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, and hairspray
  18. Tomato – the leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants are poisonous
  19. Moldy, Purple Spots – black mold, aka Stachybotrys, and other environmental toxins
  20. Dump-Heap – environmental landfills contaminated with toxic, hazardous materials
  21. Deplorable Rubbish kids plucking feces from toilet bowls, cat litter boxes, or their own soiled diapers
  22. Mangled up in Tangled up knots screaming patients subdued in 4 point restraints after taking hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (LySergic Acid Diethylamide)
  23. 39 and a half foot pole – just a few feet more than the longest anaconda (snake) on record, documented as 33 feet in length
  24. Nauseate syrup of ipecac used in the past to induce vomiting
  25. Jerky Jockey – poisons that cause seizures, such as strychnine and cocaine
  26. Crooked Hoss – phencyclidine (PCP), aka “horse tranquilizer”; a street drug that may give you “crooked” thinking
  27. Toadstool Sandwich – refers to poisonous mushrooms
  28. Arsenic Sauce – news stories about arsenic contamination of foods such as apple juice and rice

We all know that the mean Mr. Grinch eventually changed his evil ways, all because of the expressions of care and love from Cindy Lou Who, and other residents of Whoville. So, what would change the unsafe and harmful ways of “toxic” Mr. Grinch? We think it would take a concerted effort on your part this holiday season to thoroughly and carefully poison proof all areas of your home, basement, garage, play and workplace. We can help. Visit our website,, for FREE helpful poison prevention tips, educational programs, literature, stickers and magnets, training programs, etc.

We don’t know if old Mr. Grinch had access to a national “meanness” hotline, but for sure you have 24 hour access to the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 to assist you with any poisoning emergency, incident, or question.

Have a happy and safe holiday season now, and throughout the year.

-Tony Burda, PharmD, DBAT & Tracy Esposito, RN BSN CSPI

P.S.  And don’t go overboard on the “Roast Beast”.

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Related posts:

  1. Ultra-Toxic Poisons May Be Lurking Right Under Your Nose
  2. Happy Holidays from the Illinois Poison Center!
  3. Toxic Pyrotechnics and other Fourth of July Hazards
  4. How Much Holly is too Jolly?
  5. More on Mercury and Fish Consumption During Pregnancy

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