Expert Opinions

Susan P. Baker, MPH, ScD (Hon.)

July 30, 2014


Dear Dr. Stang:

As an injury prevention specialist, I am deeply concerned about childhood poisoning, which is a public health problem in need of a solution. In 2012, 41.000 children less than 5 years of age received emergency room treatment for poisoning and more than 3,000 were admitted to hospitals (1). Although dramatic reductions in childhood poisoning occurred prior to 2005, there has been no reduction in the rate since that time.

Since the Academy of Pediatrics ceased recommending the use of ipecac in 2003 (2), there has been no product on the market that addresses the need for timely treatment at home with something that is acceptable to children and parents.

Activated charcoal would be an effective antidote if children were willing to ingest it in therapeutic amounts. However, in a slurry form, children find it too objectionable and just spit it out. An ideal solution would be incorporation of activated charcoal into a food product that children are willing to eat.

I strongly support any product shown to be acceptable to children if they consume and retain it in a quantity that would provide a therapeutic dose of activated charcoal.

I am the founding director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. 1bis letter expresses my own opinion, as an expert in injury prevention, rather than the opinion of any organization with which I am affiliated.

Susan P. Baker, MPH, ScD (Hon.), Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health



  1. CDC. WISQARS Nonfatal injury reports.
  2. LINK: