At the end of July, we discussed how accidental deaths are on the rise throughout the country. While preventable deaths still lead the pack – heart disease, cancers, etc. – we have seen an increase in specific types of fatal accidents as well. WorldLifeExpectancy.com lists poisoning as the 11th most common fatal accident, when you combine all ages and genders.
OK.gov states the following:
“From 2007-2013, more than 4,600 Oklahomans died of an unintentional poisoning [and] unintentional poisoning mortality rates… increased fivefold in Oklahoma [between 1999 and 2013]. In 2013, Oklahoma had the sixth highest unintentional poisoning mortality rate in the United States. Unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death for Oklahomans aged 25-64” (emphasis ours).
So why are our numbers so much higher than they are in other states? It could be because Oklahoma is home to one of the more dangerous industries in the country – namely, oil and gas exploration and refining. It could also be a matter of numbers. Oklahoma sits right in the middle of the nation when it comes to population (28th to be exact), as there are just shy of 4 million people living here, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even if the same number of people die from accidental poisoning here as do in, say, California, the numbers will be skewed higher for us.
Leading causes of accidental poisoning
Regardless of why our numbers are so high, it is a problem that must be addressed. According to OK.gov, the most common causes of fatal poisoning accidents include:
- Overdoses of prescription or illegal drugs, or alcohol
- Carbon monoxide
- Chemicals, both industrial or for home use
- Noxious gasses
- Water contamination, such as heightened lead levels
Adults and children are at risk of inhaling or ingesting deadly substances every day.
Avoiding fatal poisoning
We know that there is no way to avoid harmful substances altogether – but we can all be safer when it comes to limiting exposure. If you work in a dangerous industry, make sure you are equipped with the correct safety equipment and alert your supervisor if you believe something is not right. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector and install it correctly, and never keep a generator running in the house or near open windows. Keep your prescription medications out of reach of children and dispose of expired pills safely. (You can contact your local pharmacy to find out more.) Keep chemicals locked away somewhere safe; keeping them under the sink may be convenient, but it puts your babies at risk. By taking a few precautions, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Stipe Law Firm fights for justice on behalf of injury victims throughout Oklahoma. If your loved one dies because of the negligent actions of another person or entity, we may be able to help. To schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma wrongful death attorney, please contact our office in McAlester, or call (918) 505-7741 to learn more.