Background: The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC; http://www.aapcc.org ) maintains the National Poison Data System (NPDS). Today, 60 of the nation's 61 US poison centers upload case data automatically. Most upload every 1- 60 minutes (median 11 minutes) to NPDS creating a real-time national exposure database and surveillance system.
Methodology: We analyzed the case data tabulating specific indices from NPDS. The methodology was similar to that of previous years. Where changes were introduced, the differences are identified. Fatalities were reviewed by a team of 27 medical and clinical toxicologists and assigned to 1 of 6 categories according to Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF).
Results: Over 4 million calls were captured by NPDS in 2006: 2,403,539 human exposure calls, 1,488,993 information requests, and 128,353 nonhuman exposure calls Substances involved most frequently in all human exposures were analgesics. The most common exposures in children less than age 6 were cosmetics/personal care products. NPDS documented 1,229 human fatalities.
Conclusions: Poisoning continues to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. NPDS represents a valuable national resource to collect and monitor US poisoning exposure cases. It offers one of the few real-time surveillance systems in existence, provides useful data and is a model for public health surveillance.