Poison strikes at least 400 locals

By Brendan Manning

Wanganui residents have been poisoned after ingesting an array of substances, including industrial chemicals, contraceptive pills and rodenticide.

The New Zealand National Poisons Centre hotline - 0800 POISONS - received 466 calls from Wanganui residents last year.

Nearly 400 were actual poisonings, while 67 were "other calls". The most common calls from Wanganui related to industrial chemicals.

Fifteen locals called the line last year after ingesting agricultural animal remedies, 11 due to "therapeutic topical applications", 10 due to oral contraceptives and two for household rodenticide.

Victims' ages ranged from one month to 92-years-old - the most common were toddlers, aged 24 months and 3-year-olds. Poisons Centre operations manager Lucy Shieffelbien said 'other calls' related to non-exposure scenarios, including drug information requests, or queries about cleaning up chemical spills.

Nationally, the most common household substance calls included petrol, dishwashing liquid, alcohol, liquid ant killer, bubble blowing mixture, glowsticks, super glue and bleach.

Ms Shieffelbien said many common misconceptions existed around poisonings.

"In the good old days it was 'make the child vomit, induce vomiting'... "But we don't advocate that now simply because, if it's something corrosive and it's burnt on the way down and you make a person vomit - it's likely to burn on the way back up again and cause more injury."


By the numbers:

466 calls from Wanganui in 2012 (399 actual poisonings, 67 other calls).

497 calls in 2011 (434 actual poisonings, 63 other calls).


- Wanganui Chronicle

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