Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

Roskam, IPC Stress Importance of Poison Prevention During Holiday Season

Dec 9, 2013
Press Release
Poison Centers Able to Continue Vital Safety Functions Under Roskam’s Bill

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) and the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) held a press conference at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital to emphasize the vital functions of the IPC as well as Roskam’s legislation H.R. 3527 The Poison Center Network Act which would make funding for poison centers a priority. Roskam and the IPC were joined by experts that help train and direct the operations at Advocate Hospital, one of the EMS training hospitals for the region.

(Front row, from left to right: Dr. Val Phillips, Medical Director, EMSS/Emergency Preparedness at Advocate Hospital, Dr. Michael Wahl, Medical Director for Illinois Poison Center, Donna Schaffer, school nurse at Benet Academy, Congressman Peter Roskam and David Fox, President of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. Back row, from left to right, Lincolnwood Chief Mike Hansen and Palatine Chief Scott Andersen along with local EMS and firefighters.)

“Poison centers are kept very busy during the holiday season, when potentially hazardous decorations and plants are easily accessible to children and seemingly harmless holiday foods can cause food poisoning,” said Roskam. “Protecting the health and safety of our communities is a core responsibility of government and that’s why I’m sponsoring legislation that ensures poison centers continue to receive the resources they need.”

“Our nation’s poison centers are a critical life and money saving resource. In Illinois alone, our expert poison center staff’s work saves taxpayers more than $50 million dollars annually in unnecessary medical costs and lost productivity,” said Dr. Michael Wahl, IPC Medical Director. “We are honored by Congressman Roskam’s continued support and dedication for our nation’s poison centers and the health and safety of all Americans.”

“The Illinois Poison Center is an incredible resource,” said Donna Schaffer, School Nurse, Benet Academy. “When students came in contact with materials, such as the contents of glow sticks, or takes more than the recommended dose of cold medications, the expert advice from the poison help line is a phone call away to provide triage guidance.”

Poison centers provide key services to the community, loved ones and medical professionals. They are also a return on investment for the government: for every $1 of funding for poison centers, the government saves over $13 in reduced health care costs and lost output. In 2012 alone, the IPC prevented roughly 35,000 Emergency Room visits, all while saving Illinois more than $50 million.

Due to a recent lack of funding, the IPC has cut important staff that have causes slower reaction times to health emergencies. Congressman Roskam’s bill would authorize $30 million from 2014-2019 for poison centers’ operations that help ensure the safety and health of Americans.  

For more resources and safety tips, visit the Illinois Poison Center’s website at