pictures of pills, cleaning supplies and a poisonous plant.

Poison Control

A poison is anything that can make you sick or kill you if you eat it, drink it, breath it in, get it on your skin or get it in your eyes.

If someone has been potentially exposed to a poison and is awake and alert, you should call the NYC Poison Center immediately, even if there are no symptoms of poisoning. For ingested poisons, do not try to make the person throw up. If the person is unconscious, convulsing, having seizures or having trouble breathing, call 911.

Do Not Drink Poppers (Alkyl Nitrites)

Poppers contain alkyl nitrites and are inhaled for recreational use as a muscle relaxant, sex aid or to induce euphoria. Common brands include “RUSH”, “Liquid Gold” and “Blue Boy”. Poppers are sold in small bottles that can resemble energy drinks. Poppers are not energy drinks and you should never drink them.

Poppers can cause a type of blood poisoning called methemoglobinemia. The symptoms include blue-colored skin (cyanosis), difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness.

The solvent cleaner “Maximum Impact®” (primary ingredient: ethyl chloride) has been sold as “popper spray” or “ethyl poppers”. Ethyl chloride is not the same as alkyl nitrites and can cause serious health risks including sudden cardiac death.

If you or someone you know drinks poppers and is concerned, call the NYC Poison Center at 212-POISONS (212-764-7667).

Pesticide Warning

Never use foggers, bombs or toxic pesticides such as Tres Pasitos, Chinese Chalk, Tempo dust or Sniper DDVP.

Report pests and conditions that attract them such as leaks, cracks and holes in walls or floors, and clutter in common areas, to your building owner. If the problem is not fixed, call 311.

Pesticides should only be used in a safe manner as listed on the label.

Ingestion (swallowing) is the most common way that poisonings happen. Poisonings can also happen through inhalation, dermal (on the skin contact), or ocular (in the eyes). Learn more about common poisons and the City’s resources to help you be safe:

Community-based organizations (or individuals) can request free multilingual poison prevention and medicine safety materials or workshops through our Community Education Training Programs.

Medical professionals can also learn more about medical toxicology through the Visiting Resident Toxicology Rotation at the NYC Poison Center or through joining our monthly Consultants' Conference and Grand Rounds presentations.

NYC Poison Center

The NYC Poison Center is available 24/7 and has translation services in more than 150 languages. All calls are free and confidential. Registered pharmacists and nurses certified in poison information can provide treatment advice and information about potential poisons and medicine safety. When you call the center, they will ask you:

  • Your name and the name of the person poisoned
  • The telephone number you are calling from
  • The age and weight of the person poisoned
  • The name and amount of the product or substance involved
  • How long ago the poisoning happened
  • Any symptoms the poisoned person is having

To contact the NYC Poison Center, call 212-POISONS (212-764-7667).

March Toxicology Conference

Every year in March, the New York City Poison Center and the NYU Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine host an interactive toxicology conference. This clinical course, instructed by the dynamic faculty from the NYC PCC and the NYU Department of Emergency Medicine, is for health care professionals who have an interest in the exciting world of medical toxicology. The conference offers participants the opportunity to engage in challenging interactive toxicology scenarios via small group workshops.

Additional Resources

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