Patterns and Trends in Accidental Poisoning Deaths: Pennsylvania's Experience 1979-2014.


The purpose of this study was to examine county and state-level accidental poisoning mortality trends in Pennsylvania from 1979 to 2014.

Crude and age-adjusted death rates were formed for age group, race, sex, and county for accidental poisonings (ICD 10 codes X40-X49) from 1979 to 2014 for ages 15+ using the Mortality and Population Data System housed at the University of Pittsburgh. Rate ratios were calculated comparing rates from 1979 to 2014, overall and by sex, age group, and race. Joinpoint regression was used to detect statistically significant changes in trends of age-adjusted mortality rates.

Rate ratios for accidental poisoning mortality in Pennsylvania increased more than 14-fold from 1979 to 2014. The largest rate ratios were among 35-44 year olds, females, and White adults. The highest accidental poisoning mortality rates were found in the counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania, those surrounding Philadelphia, and those in Northeast Pennsylvania near Scranton.

The patterns and locations of accidental poisoning mortality by race, sex, and age group provide direction for interventions and policy makers. In particular, this study found the highest rate ratios in PA among females, whites, and the age group 35-44.

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Donald Burke

Distinguished University Professor of Health Science and Policy
University of Pittsburgh