2010 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 28th Annual Report

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2011 Dec;49(10):910-41. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2011.635149.


Background: This is the 28th Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' (AAPCC) National Poison Data System (NPDS). All US poison centers upload case data automatically with a median time interval of 19.0 [11.9, 40.6] (median [25%, 75%]) minutes, creating a near real-time national exposure and information 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. Poison center cases with medical outcomes of death were evaluated by a team of 33 medical and clinical toxicologist reviewers using an ordinal scale of 1 (Undoubtedly responsible) - 6 (Unknown) to determine Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF) of the exposure to the death.

Results: In 2010, 3,952,772 closed encounters were logged by NPDS: 2,384,825, human exposures, 94,823 animal exposures, 1,466,253 information calls, 6537 human confirmed nonexposures, and 334 animal confirmed nonexposures. Total encounters showed a 7.7% decline from 2009 while health care facility calls increased by 2.7%. Human exposures with more serious outcomes (minor, moderate, major or death) increased 4.5% while those with less serious outcomes (all other medical outcome categories) decreased 5.9%. All information calls decreased 12.6% and health care facility (HCF) information calls decreased 13.6%, Drug ID calls decreased 10.9%, and human exposures decreased 3.8%. The top 5 substance classes most frequently involved in all human exposures were analgesics (11.5%), cosmetics/personal care products (7.7%), household cleaning substances (7.3%), sedatives/hypnotics/ antipsychotics (6.0%), and foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (4.2%). Analgesic exposures as a class increased the most rapidly by 32.8% over the last decade. The top f ve most common exposures in children age 5 years or less were cosmetics/personal care products (13.2%), analgesics (9.4%), household cleaning substances (9.2%), foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (7.2%), and topical preparations (6.8%). THC homolog and designer amphetamine ("Bath Salts") exposures were identified as emerging public health threats. Drug identification requests comprised 64.3% of all information calls. NPDS documented 1730 human exposures resulting in death with 1146 human fatalities judged related with an RCF of 1-Undoubtedly responsible, 2-Probably responsible, or 3-Contributory.

Conclusions: These data support the continued value of poison center expertise and need for specialized medical toxicology information to manage the more severe exposures, despite a decrease in calls involving less severe exposures. Unintentional and intentional exposures continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. The near real-time, always current status of NPDS represents a national public health resource to collect and monitor US exposure cases and information calls. The continuing mission of NPDS is to provide a nationwide infrastructure for public health surveillance for all types of exposures, public health event identification, resilience response and situational awareness tracking. NPDS is a model system for the nation and global public health.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Poison Control Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Poisoning / mortality
  • Population Surveillance
  • Societies
  • United States / epidemiology