October 3, 2014 – Toxic Stuff


Anchor lead:  The CDC served up some surprises with a recent list of the most common causes of accidental poisonings in kids, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Narcotics and painkillers are tops on the list of 12 medications that send more than 70,000 kids, most of them younger than two, to the emergency department each year.  That’s according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.  Tina Cheng, a pediatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Cheng: I was a little bit surprised to see that list. That list has changed over time and I think it has to do with the availability of particular medications and poisonous substances to young kids, toddlers in particular that are getting poisoned. I think that if you look at abuse of medications opioids and pain medications are way up there on the list and as a result we’re also seeing that with young kids.   :26

Cheng says this list reflects our national problem with prescription opioid abuse among adults, and expresses concern that with the skyrocketing use of electronic cigarettes nicotine might make the list next year, since it, too, it toxic for toddlers.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.