Toxic or not? Ask 'Poisons Help'.

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by togata57, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Columbus, Ohio
    The fast-growing global community, called Poisons Help: Emergency Identification for Mushrooms & Plants, assists people with identifying fungi and plants and assessing the risk of poisoning when someone (or, more often, a pet) has ingested or come into contact with a species of questionable or unknown toxicity.

    Poisons Help was founded in 2018 when a handful of fungi experts who knew each other from other mycology-focused Facebook groups came together to handle more urgent cases of potential poisoning. Global membership has grown by some 40,000 members since last summer, from 60,000 to over 100,000, and the group regularly racks up hundreds of posts a month. Members include nonmedical folks as well as veterinarians, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals.

    The group has more than 200 administrators who have proven track records for identifying plants and mushrooms...“You’re not allowed to participate if you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Hunter said. “It’s like the opposite of the internet.”

    All admins are volunteers with day jobs who dedicate spare time to the group. “The primary function is to make sure that we get the best and most accurate identification to panicked people as possible,” said Woodfield.

    Many admins are “on call” to receive notifications of all new posts, kick-starting the identification effort in seconds.
    But it’s an interest in biodiversity that keeps many admins coming back. “I kind of enjoy the randomness of it, never knowing what’s coming, and feel stimulated by some new puzzle,” said admin and fungi poison consultant Debbie Viess, who is based in California. “It’s like being a detective. Sometimes you just have a little bit of data and you’re piecing it all together.”

    Did you (or your dog) eat a suspicious mushroom? These very online mycologists want to help.

    Log into Facebook

    The North American Mycological Association also maintains a directory of mycologists who are available for consultations:
    Mushroom Poisoning Identifiers - North American Mycological Association
    Frog likes this.
  2. Frog

    Frog Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    B.C., Canada
    They are definitely being run off their feet at this point, partly in having to deal with folks who arrive with non-emergency questions ranging from "what is this will it get me high" to worried pet owners who found their pet standing next to some mushrooms without any evidence whether something was eaten or not and which of the several species in the yard it may have been. Just a flood of people: I am sure they are feeling a bit pro/con'ish about the broad reach of the recent article.
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Sounds exhausting for the admins. And, I'm not sure I'd want corporate social media to have the details of what I may have ingested if there are long-term complications and health insurance ramifications.

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