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Illinois Poison Center says hotline is ready for the July 4th weekend

Illinois Poison Center Matt Novack, PharmD, at his station taking calls from the public and hospitals
Michael Wahl
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Illinois Poison Center
Illinois Poison Center Matt Novack, PharmD, at his station taking calls from the public and hospitals

Michael Wahl, medical director at the IPC, says the non-profit handles 80,000 cases annually with a workforce of 28 people.

"One of the agents that can cause a significant amount of harm are tiki torch oils," Wahl said in a phone interview with WVIK. "They are kind of yellow and look like apple juice. If they are put in a container such as a cup or other vehicle to fill up the torches, the child may see it and try to drink it. What happens when it goes into their lungs is it can cause a severe amount of lung damage including being on a breathing machine."

Wahl says fireworks should be kept from kids as the chemicals, including barium, can cause paralysis as well as digestive issues.

"Fourth of July is really our most common time to get [calls on] glowsticks...those are fortunately non-fatal but can cause eye and lip irritation," Wahl said.

He also stresses people to be observant of open containers of alcohol and edibles.

"40% of the children who ingest edibles end up being admitted; we get close to 300 calls a year based on edibles."

The free and confidential IPC hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Brady is a 2021 Augustana College graduate majoring in Multimedia Journalism-Mass Communication and Political Science. Over the last eight years, he has reported in central Illinois at various media outlets, including The Peoria Journal Star, WCBU Peoria Public Radio, Advanced Media Partners, and WGLT Bloomington-Normal's Public Media.