a. The number of poisoning victims increases each year. More and more drugs
are becoming available, and more and more people are taking drugs. More than 400
children five years of age and younger die in the United States each year from ingested
poisons. The annual death toll for all ages is about 1,400 people. There are 500,000
accidental ingestions of poisons each year. With these startling statistics in mind, it is
possible that you as a Medical NCO will encounter a person who has ingested poisons.
b. Poisons are dangerous, lethal substances. A poison may be defined as a
substance which may, when ingested, cause serious illness or death. Poisons are
close at hand in our every day life. There are about a quarter of a million products sold
for use in and around the home, products which are poisonous if swallowed or inhaled
in large enough quantities. The most hazardous types of substances are listed below:
(1) Drugs and medicines--includes powerful prescription pain-killers and
sleeping pills such as aspirin, cough medicine, and liniment.
Insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
Solvents--carbon tetrachloride and acetone, for example.
Petroleum distillates--examples include kerosene, gasoline, and light
Cleaning liquids and powders--detergents, ammonia, bleach, and oven
Polishing solutions--including furniture and metal-polishing compounds.
Automotive supplies--for example, brake fluid, antifreeze solutions, and
(8) Cosmetics--hair dyes, bleaches, hair-curling and hair- straightening
solutions, and nail polish removers.
Hobby supplies--glues, cements, paints, and varnishes.
(10) Flakes of lead-based paints--chipped by children from the walls of old