National Poison Data System

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, NPDS contains information from the human poison exposure case phone calls taken by all 55 poison centers across the country. 

NPDS holds more than 50 million poison exposure case records, with more than two million new records added each year. It is also a robust and modern system -- holding many types of technical medical data that are searchable in many ways. NPDS contains exposure cases dating back to 1985. Today, information and human exposure case data are continually uploaded to NPDS from all the poison centers about every 13 minutes, providing a near real-time snapshot of poisoning conditions nationwide.

This database is useful in many ways.  NPDS can:

  • Guide clinical research on poisonings.
  • Alert health agencies to new and emerging threats from drugs or household products.
  • Identify and track food-borne illness outbreaks.
  • Prompt new product and medicine formulations.
  • Help provide evidence for product repackaging, recalls, bans, and over-the-counter status changes.
  • Make a case for product reformulation.
  • Focus poison prevention education.
  • Direct training of future medical students.
  • Detect chemical or bioterrorism incidents. 

Key regulatory agencies including the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Drug Enforcement Agency rely on NPDS data. Our data is also most frequently used by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Information from NPDS can be made available and is used in the ways listed below. The NPDS Annual Report, usually released one year after the data year closes, is free and available to the public; other reports are available for sale. The NPDS system itself is not for sale, and direct access to it is generally not allowed outside of poison centers or the AAPCC.

NPDS Can Help You:

  • Analyze safety data before deaths and injuries occur, thereby minimizing the risk of product liability suits or regulatory action and maximizing consumer safety.
  • Monitor product safety by comparing individual brands to product categories to provide an early opportunity to reformulate products packaging.
  • Conduct post-marketing surveillance of newly approved or newly marketed products.
  • Demonstrate product safety to regulatory agencies when facing proposed regulatory action, or to consumer groups seeking safer products.
  • Demonstrate safety of pharmaceutical agents when applying for a switch from prescription to over-the-counter (OTC) status.
  • Satisfy regulatory reporting requirements.
  • Demonstrate product safety in product liability lawsuits, or relative safety compared to other products or product classes.
  • Support new drug applications using data from products with similar structures or products with similar delivery vehicles.
  • Replace some of the animal testing which has become routine for new products.
  • Save lives and prevent poisonings.

For more information, contact the AAPCC at 703.894.1858 or

Find Your Local Poison Center

Poison centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222.

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