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Drain cleaner accidents in the United States: a retrospective epidemiology study.

DRAIN CLEANER ACCIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES: A RETROSPECTIVE EPIDEMIOLOGY STUDY. Ronald N. Hunsinger and Joy J. Al-Massaad, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229.

Many products designed to open clogged plumbing drains are available residentially and are marketed to the public in the form of concentrated caustics, i.e., either strong bases or acids. Alkaline drain openers (ALKDOs) are typically formulated as either sodium hydroxide (liquid or granular form) or sulfuric acid drain openers (SADOs). In this study, a retrospective analysis was conducted of drain cleaner accident data in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission for years 1996 - 2006. Drain cleaner injury rates per 100,000 US population over the test period averaged 0.017 for all ages and 0.009 for victims under 20 YOA. These injury rates were low, compared to other reported injuries from items in common public use such as lawn mower accidents, which were associated with a rate of 11.1 injuries per 100,000 for 20 YOA or less, or golf cart injuries with a recently reported injury rate of 49.99/100,000. Seven deaths were associated with drain cleaner accidents over the 1996 - 2006 test period. Two age-related peaks for drain cleaner injuries were observed during the test period, one at < 2 YOA and one at 41 - 50 YOA. Body areas most involved in drain cleaner injuries were: head (16% of all injuries), trunk (28%), arms (28%) and legs (28%). Sixty-four percent of all head injuries involved the eyeball. From a comparative risk analysis standpoint, our study concludes that while the likelihood of drain cleaner accidents is low, the magnitude of consequences can be great. The weight of evidence argues for a periodic review of the use of these products and an emphasis on the proper use and storage of drain cleaner products.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Heath Science Poster Abstracts
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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