Unintentional poisoning occurred mainly among children. The leading cause of such poisoning in Brazil, among consumer products was household cleaning products. For this study 2810 calls made to two poison control centers in the State of Rio de Janeiro between January 2000 and December 2002 were analyzed. Children under five were the most vulnerable group. More boys under 10 suffered accidental poisoning than girls, although above this age, the distribution was inverted. The calls received by poison control centers were mainly from health services within the first two hours following poisoning. The most frequent exposure routes were ingestion (90.4%), followed by inhalation (4.3%), skin and eye contact (2.4% and 2% respectively). The products involved were bleach, petroleum derivates, rodenticides and pesticides. The main causes were products within the children's reach, storage in soft drink bottles, food mixed with rodenticides, incorrect product use, and kitchen utensils used for measured cleaning products. The most common outcome was that the patient was cured, although a lot of cases were lost to follow-up. Education programs are necessary in order to avoid these poisonings.