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“Poison”…What’s it Really Mean?

Posted: February 28th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

March is Illinois Poison Prevention Month

Say the word “poison” and most people conjure up an image of chemicals in a container marked with a skull and cross-bones, arsenic or even Agent Orange.   But these are only a few of the thousands of substances the experts in the call center deal with that involve children and adults of all ages,  ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.  A majority of the calls involve medication errors, medication/drug reactions; cleaning/beauty care/automotive products, insect/animal bites and stings, plants, food, vitamins/supplements, lead, carbon monoxide and sometimes even regular drinking water, etc.  Basically…anything and everything has the potential to be harmful; Read more »


Poinsettia Plants – Poisonous or Not? Let’s Put it to Rest

Posted: December 6th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Nothing says the holidays quite like bright lights, trees and other decorations; and no holiday decor would seem complete without those pretty poinsettias. Although poinsettias are a fixture around many homes this time of year, calls to the IPC increase from concerned parents, Read more »


“My Child Ate… Nature!”

Posted: October 4th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Bleeeaaauuugghh!!

Nasty!!!

Eeeeeewwww!!

 How many times have you squealed aloud after discovering your child has recently delved into what they believe to be a culinary delight but you know to be just plain gross?

While getting outside to allow your brood some time to release excess energy is the primary goal, it may lead to unexpected, and often quite disgusting ingestions. Read more »


Mother Nature’s Most Dangerous Toxins

Posted: September 6th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s one of the biggest poison myths of all time:  ‘all-natural’ or ‘organic’ substances are safer than their man-made or ‘chemical’ counterparts.  However, the fact is that some of the most toxic substances known to man come straight from mother earth (or her creatures).   There may be many positives about organic or all-natural products, but being inherently safer to humans is not one of them.   Please don’t make the mistake of being less than vigilant in the way you store organic cleansers, all-natural pesticides or herbal supplements.  Remember the toxicology mantra “the dosage makes it so”.   Any substance can be potentially harmful/toxic in the right amount! Read more »


Outdoor Summer Safety

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Temperatures are warm, the sun is shining and kids are out of school.  Summertime is “outside time”, so read on for tips to keep your family safe while outdoors!

Plants and Mushrooms

Learn the names of all the plants in your garden and landscaping, and label them with both their common and botanical names (tip: bring a cut of the plant/flower to your local nursery or greenhouse if you don’t know what you have).  Consult the IPC’s toxic plant list to help plan your garden, especially if you have little ones. Teach children to never eat mushrooms or berries growing outside. Read more »


The Gardener’s Guide to Poison Prevention

Posted: April 26th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Just the other day, one of our super certified poison information specialists (CSPI) was shopping at a local grocery store and found a packet of castor bean seeds in the gardening section. While most would be dazed by the beautiful flowers these seeds produce, at the Illinois Poison Center we are all too familiar with the poison contained in castor beans, ricin.  Ricin is derived from castor beans and can be refined and manufactured as a chemical weapon. Potentially toxic plants around homes are always a concern for the IPC staff. With the spring-planting season upon us, we want to provide our readers with some very important information they need in order to become more educated gardeners. Read more »


Watch Out for Those Scary Berries!

Posted: July 20th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Erin Pallasch, PharmD and IPC Call Center Specialist

Recently, I set out on a quest to determine which would be the scariest berry ingestion a parent might call the Illinois Poison Center about.  There are many toxic berries out there, but the one I would be most concerned with would be the Chinaberry. The ingestion of only 6-8 berries has been reported as fatal in a child.  The good news is we don’t have any berries this toxic native to Illinois. Whew! Chinaberries have a large range of toxicity depending on the region they grow in and although these berries can be found in Hawaii, Texas and from Florida to Virginia, the fatalities reported have been from eating the African species. I’m relieved to know I am not likely to get a call about these berries here at the IPC, BUT we have plenty of berries native to Illinois to keep us quite busy.   Read more »