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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 19, 1999




During National Poison Prevention Week, Americans focus on the progress we have made in reducing the number of accidental poisonings that occur each year and reaffirm our commitment to preventing further tragedies.

We can be heartened by the progress we have made. In 1962, when President Kennedy proclaimed the first National Poison Prevention Week, 450 young people died due to poisoning. That number has fallen dramatically. There are many who share the credit for this growing success story: responsible parents and caregivers, who keep medicines, cosmetics, household cleaners, insecticides, and other poisonous substances out of the reach of children; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which requires the use of child-resistant packaging on potentially dangerous materials; the Poison Prevention Week Council, which annually distributes poison prevention information to pharmacies, public health departments, and safety organizations; and our Nation s poison control centers, which provide lifesaving emergency first aid information. Working together, these dedicated individuals and organizations have saved hundreds of lives each year.

But we cannot relax our efforts, because each life we lose to accidental poisoning is one too many. We must all do our part to protect our Nation s children by selecting and properly using child-resistant packaging, keeping poisonous substances accurately labeled and locked away from children, carefully reading and following all directions and caution labels on packages, and keeping the number of a poison control center close to the telephone. If a poisoning incident does occur, we need to respond quickly by contacting the poison control center, relaying the appropriate information -- such as the age and weight of the poisoning victim and the type and amount of substance he or she has ingested -- and heeding instructions. These simple safety measures can mean the difference between life and death.

To encourage the American people to learn more about the dangers of accidental poisonings and to take responsible preventive measures, the Congress, by joint resolution approved September 26, 1961 (75 Stat. 681), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of March of each year as "National Poison Prevention Week."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning March 21, 1999, as National Poison Prevention Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities and by learning how to protect our children from poisons.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.


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