With so much of the world reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in the US, the normality of National Poison Prevention Week (#NPPW21) may get missed in the overwhelmed consciousness. This event reminds us it is critical to continue raising awareness of poison prevention worldwide, especially among parents, caregivers including of the elderly and infirm. This is a time to be reminded of the dangers of poisonings for people of all ages. And a time promote community involvement in poisoning prevention at a time when we can all use community in whatever form it comes. For me, this week is also a reminder of the importance of my work as a product safety professional and that every day I am helping do my part in helping keep children safe.
As babies grow and develop through toddlerhood, they are full of curiosity, a desire to know and everything goes in their mouth. It is their primary sensory tool. But this curiosity and lack of knowing leads to the risk of putting something potentially harmful in their mouths. The unfortunate reality is that accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. It is not possible to supervise children 100% of the time and it is not possible to completely avoid, formulate or design every possible risk or hazard out of the products we all use in our everyday lives. It is a team effort with home safety education as the primary safety tool in the toolbox. Product packaging is designed to add a layer of protection for those most at risk like children through technologies like child-resistant closures that make it harder for kids to get into things they shouldn’t. And the last line of defense that provides protection to help prevent accidental ingestion is Bitrex® Safety Technology. Through this technology, if a child puts a potentially harmful product in their mouth the extremely bitter taste of the Bitrex will cause them to spit it back out.
When I first started working for Market Actives over 10 years ago, I had never heard of Bitrex, but I am a child of the 1980s and I grew up with good old green faced Mr Yuk™. The first time I tasted Bitrex I know I made the worst ‘yucky’ face I’ve ever made but when experiencing “the world’s most bitter substance” I would expect nothing less. I also understood how effective it would be in doing its job to help save lives. Little did I know then, the fascinating world that I was walking into and the range of brands and industries I would be able to help use Bitrex Safety Technology adding this last line of bitter defense to their products. I’ve worked on projects that help prevent accidental ingestion in household cleaners, laundry packets, pesticides, children’s art products, lead paint, batteries, personal care and even pet products.
Coming from the world of ER veterinary medicine, I know first-hand the fear, confusion and communication challenges that occurs when an accidental ingestion happens with a pet and how similar those experiences can be when it happens with kids. Working for a company whose core value is poisoning prevention and knowing that I help protect kids and families every day brings both professional and personal rewards.
During this 59th year of National Poison Prevention Week, I ask you to take a moment and make sure that you have the Poison Help Hotline (1-800-222-1222) in your phone, so you have it handy just in case. If you can spare a few more minutes be sure to brush up on the basics of poisoning prevention through the great resources provide by organizations like AAPCC, ACI, CPSC and check that you are storing products safely and correctly in your home.
We all have our part to play. I’d love to hear how you are engaging and creating awareness in your community.
Kristin Cordz, aka The Bitter Gal
CVT and Certified Product Safety Professional (CPSP)