Mr. Yuk is over 40 years old, and still terrifying children around the world (in a good way)!
Mr. Yuk was created in 1971 by the Pittsburgh Poison Center and was the first recognized poison prevention/poison center awareness symbol in the U.S., according to their website:
“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. Every Mr. Yuk sticker contains the name of the nearest poison center and the national toll-free “Poison Help” telephone number: 1-800-222-1222. Regardless of your location in the U.S. or its territories, dialing that number will direct your call to the nearest regional poison center.”
Even after four decades of hard work, Mr. Yuk’s work is not done. Each year, an estimated 4.7 million accidental poisonings occur – with an estimated 50% occurring in children under 6 years old.
According to Wikipedia, the Mr. Yuk symbol is used as a replacement for the traditional skull-and-crossbones (a.k.a. Jolly Roger) warning label for poison. Since children may associate this symbol with pirates, the symbol may be less effective at deterring ingestion.
For your viewing pleasure, the original 1971 Mr. Yuk commercial, created before the new phone number was put in place.
The Washington Poison Center, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of six projected symbols (skull-and-crossbones, red stop sign, Mr. Yuk and three others), conducted tests at day care centers. Children in the program rated Mr. Yuk as the most unappealing product. By contrast, children rated the skull-and-crossbones to be the most appealing.
You can request a free sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers by sending a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope to:
Pittsburgh Poison Center
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
There’s even an online store where you can buy Mr. Yuk shwag like keychains, travel mugs, t-shirts, crayons, posters and bracelets.
Mr. Yuk is truly an iconic label, and a definite blast from the past!