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Numbers

2009: Year that Proclamation No. 1777, which declares every 4th week of June as “National Poison Prevention Week,” was signed.

1,000+: Number of people who were victims of food or chemical poisoning in the Philippines in 2004.

1975: Year that the Poison Control Center of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the first such center in the country, was established.  It is presently known as the PGH National Poison Management and Control Center.

1.5 million to 3 million: Estimated volume in cubic meters of mine tailings accidentally  spilled into Marinduque’s Boac River by Marcopper MIning Corp. on March 24, 1996.  The river, which used to provide food and livelihood for hundreds of families, was flooded with the toxic tailings at the rate of 5 to 10 cubic meters (one truckload) per second and has been declared biologically dead.

346,000: Estimated number of people worldwide who died from unintentional poisoning in 2004, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

370,000: Estimated number of people worldwide who commit suicide through deliberate ingestion of pesticides per year.

100,000: Estimated number of deaths each year caused by snake bites.  It has been estimated that about five million snake bites occur each year worldwide, resulting in amputations, other permanent disabilities and deaths.

82: Average number of people in the United States who die each day as a result of unintentional poisoning.

93: Percentage of unintentional poisoning in the United States that were caused by drugs such as pain medications, cocaine and heroin (2007).

77 million: Estimated number of people in Bangladesh who are exposed to toxic levels of arsenic through their drinking water, potentially taking years off their lives, according to a 2010 study published in the British medical journal The Lancet.  The WHO has referred to the situation as  “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history… beyond the accidents at Bhopal, India, in 1984, and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.”

20: Volume in tons of aluminium sulphate that was accidentally dumped in Cornwall, Britain’s main water supply, in 1988, and which resulted in what is described as “Britain’s worst water poisoning incident.”

3,000: Estimated number of people who contracted the Minamata disease, an illness caused by mercury poisoning, in Minamata, Japan during the mid-1950s. The victims experienced numbness, difficulty in hearing, seeing and walking, tremors and brain damage.

Compiled by Schatzi Quodala, Inquirer Research

Source: NSCB, uppoisoncenter.org, who.int, cdc.gov, cnn.com, guardian.co.uk, rarediseases.about.com, Inquirer Archives