(WTRF/NEXSTAR) — The iconic “Mr. Yuk” poison symbol is turning 50 years old this week.
Mr. Yuk’s birthday comes just ahead of National Poison Prevention Week, which is March 21-27.
Mr. Yuk was created by Dr. Richard Moriarty, a pediatrician and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who founded the Pittsburgh Poison Center and the National Poison Center Network.
Moriarty felt that the traditional skull and crossbones representing poison were no longer appropriate for children.
“Mr. Yuk has raised the awareness that poison centers are available 24 hours-a-day, every day of the year to assist in the management of poisoning emergencies and to provide poison information,” said the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
In 1971, the Pittsburgh Poison Centre issued the Mr. Yuk sticker. Moriarty showed the sticker to kids, and one of them said, “He looks yucky.” And that’s how the sticker got its name, according to an article called “Still Scary After All These Years: Mr. Yuk Nears 40,” found in a journal at the Penn State University Libraries.
Over the next few years, Mr. Yuk stickers were used nationwide to promote poison centers in the United States of America.
The stickers show the name of the nearest poison center and the phone number for the national poison helpline: 1-800-222-1222.