operations. These early leaders also recognized that effective telephone triage could avert unneeded medical visits or lead to early treatment at home. Hence, centers soon began to provide advice directly to laypersons and nonphysician care providers. This feature distinguishes poison control centers in the United States from similar centers in other countries, where the task of giving advice remains largely restricted to physicians.

In 1957, the Surgeon General established the National Clearinghouse for Poison Control Centers (NCHPCC) within the FDA. At the time, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture represented the only federal agencies related to consumers with jurisdiction over drugs and chemicals. Product ingredient information was provided and poison exposures were tracked through NCHPCC. Funding was also provided to develop the text Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, authored by Robert Gosselin, M.D., Harold Hodge, M.D., and Marion Gleason at the University of Rochester.

At the 1958 AAP annual meeting, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) was founded (Mofenson, 1975) (see Box 4-2 for the AAPCC statement of objectives). AAPCC continues to serve as the voluntary association for poison control centers. As the lead professional organization regarding poison control and management, AAPCC—along with other toxicology groups—continues to host medical toxicology scientific presentations and continuing education sessions at its annual meeting in combination with several other societies. In 1968, both the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and the American College of Emergency Physicians were founded. One impact of both organizations was to take the focus of poisoning beyond pediatric exposures. The American Board of Medical Toxicology gave its first examination for physician toxicologists in 1974 and fellowship training programs were instituted at about the same time. Emergency medicine was recognized as a specialty in the

BOX 4-2
Statement of Objectives of the American Association of Poison Control Centers

To provide a forum for poison centers and interested individuals to promote the reduction of morbidity and mortality from poisonings through public and professional education and scientific research.

To set voluntary standards for poison center operations.

SOURCE: http://www.aapcc.org//aapcc.htm.

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