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National Poison Data System (NPDS)


The National Poison Data System (NPDS) is the only comprehensive poisoning exposure surveillance database in the United States. Maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), NPDS contains case information from calls placed to all 61 poison centers across the U.S. Initiated in 1985, NPDS today has over 50 million case records and information on over 360,000 products. Annually, the nation’s 61 poison centers take over four million calls. All calls are entered into NPDS. These calls include data on over 2.5 million confirmed human exposures, animal exposures, information calls, and cases that were later confirmed to be non-exposures. Specialists in Poison Information (specially trained nurses, pharmacists, and physicians) at each poison center collect NPDS data on site immediately. Information is uploaded to NPDS from the poison centers approximately every 11 minutes. This advanced database acts as a protective screen for poison outbreaks across the country—methodically searching and analyzing potential poisoning trends ranging from contaminated peanut butter to biological warfare. Key regulatory agencies rely on NPDS data including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources Services Administration, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Drug Enforcement Agency.


Data Years Available





Reports from 61 United States poison control centers.

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Population covered




Response rate and sample size

61 poison control centers serving 304.1 million people (2008).

Interpretation Issues

Comparison of exposure or outcome data from previous AAPCC Annual Reports is problematic. In particular, the identification of fatalities (attribution of a death to the exposure) differed from pre-2006 Annual Reports (see Fatality Case Review – Methods). Poison center death cases are described as all cases resulting in death and those determined to be poison related fatalities. Likewise, Table 22 (Exposure Cases by Generic Category) since year 2006 restricts the breakdown including deaths to single substance cases to improve precision and avoid misinterpretation. (see AAPCC annual reports of NPDS).


Clinical Toxicology (2009) 47, 911–1084 Copyright © American Association of Poison Control Centers ISSN: 1556-3650 print / 1556-9519 online DOI: 10.3109/15563650903438566