Message from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on National Poison Prevention Week – March 20 to 26, 2022

From: Health Canada


March 23, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

This National Poison Prevention Week, we would like to remind Canadians that many items found in our homes can be poisonous, causing serious harm if not used, stored, or disposed of correctly. With this year’s theme – Make your plan – in mind, Health Canada is encouraging Canadians to keep their loved ones safe by understanding what products are poisonous and checking that they are safely stored in their home.

An estimated 90 percent of unintentional, preventable poisonings take place at home. Young children and persons with cognitive impairment are at the greatest risk of unintentional poisonings. The health effects of poisonings can vary widely, from temporary injury to death, and depend on which substances the individual is exposed to, the amount, and the type of contact.

Three of the most commonly reported sources of unintentional poisonings are household cleaning products such as detergent packets, cannabis, and vaping liquids containing nicotine.

  • Cleaning products: Commonly used cleaning products, like laundry and dishwasher detergent packets, can be poisonous. These small, brightly coloured packets have been mistaken for candy and swallowed, causing serious injuries. To prevent poisonings, such products should be kept in their original child-resistant containers and stored out of sight and reach.
  • Cannabis: Ingesting cannabis is the most common cause of cannabis poisoning in children. Results from the 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey showed that 36% of Canadians who had cannabis inside their home stored it in unlocked cabinets or drawers, and 17% of Canadians stored it on open shelves or tables. Remember that illegal cannabis edible products are often packaged to look like popular food products, and can easily be mistaken for candy or other foods that appeal to kids. Only buy legal cannabis from licensed retailers and store it out of reach in its original child-resistant packaging.
  • Vaping liquid: Vaping liquid containing nicotine is poisonous, particularly to young children. Even in small amounts, it can be very harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. When buying a container of vaping liquid with nicotine, look for one that has a child-resistant closure and a toxic hazard symbol with the warning ‘POISON’, both of which are required by law.

Safe storage of household chemicals, cannabis, and vaping liquid is key to reducing the likelihood of poisonings in your home.

Poisonings can happen quickly. Knowing what your next step is can save lives. If you suspect that you or someone around you may have been poisoned, call a poison centre or 911 right away.

We want to thank all Canadians for helping to make the environments where our families live, learn, and play as safe as possible.

Find more information about safely buying, using, storing and disposing of drugshealth products and household chemical products on the Health Canada website.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.