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Everything Is A Poison

...depending on dose and circumstance.

Substances considered harmless or helpful in daily use can be deadly or do serious harm if over-consumed or misused. And substances that are thought of as harmful or toxic often have no hurtful effect in small doses.

The dose makes the poison.

Here are a few examples of common substances that can be poisonous.

  • Table salt - Too much salt can change the balance of sodium in our body causing seizures and death.
  • Caffeine - The central nervous system and heart are among the body systems affected by caffeine, With caffeine in so many products (coffee, tea, energy drinks, over-the-counter medications), it is easy to take in harmful amounts.
  • Medications - Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be harmful if not taken exactly as indicated; accidental drug misuse accounts for a great many hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Water - Even a substance as critical to sustaining life as water can be toxic. Drinking massive quantities of water in a short period of time can cause death.

Helping people live safely with all the potentially dangerous products and substances around them is a main purpose of our poison center. This section includes prevention tips and safety information about a variety of common sources of poison.  Sections include understanding the many potentially dangerous products in our homes, keeping your pets safe from poisons, and identifying poisonous and non-poisonous plants.


Originally posted: Sep 15, 2014
Last updated: May 21, 2019