Safety and OSHA News

Top 15 causes of death in U.S.

“Are Americans worrying too much about the wrong things?” 

That’s the title of a press release from the National Safety Council (NSC) marking June as National Safety Month.

The point from NSC: Unintentional (accidental) injuries are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Yet, the news media (particularly TV news) are more likely to highlight murders than unintentional injuries, despite the fact that murder isn’t even in the top 15 causes of death in the U.S.

The NSC points out that the top three causes of unintentional injury in the U.S. are:

  1. Poisoning (with a large majority of cases attributed to the recent epidemic of prescription drug abuse)
  2. Motor vehicle crashes (with 26% of all crashes estimated to involve cell phone use while driving), and
  3. Falls.

The NSC says by taking some simple steps this month, while we’re on and off the job, we can decrease the number of deaths by unintentional injury. Examples:

  • Properly store your medications
  • Don’t talk on your cell phone (hands-on or hands-free) while driving, and
  • Use slip-resistant mats on floors.

The list

I don’t know about you, but when I read that unintentional deaths are the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S., I wanted to know what Nos. 1-4 were, and how the number of murders compared to this list.

So without further ado, here are the top 15 causes of death in the U.S. for 2010 (the most recent year final statistics are available):

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  4. Stroke
  5. Unintentional injuries (accidents)
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Kidney disease
  9. Flu and pneumonia
  10. Intentional self harm (suicide)
  11. Septicemia (blood poisoning)
  12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  13. Hypertension
  14. Parkinson’s disease, and
  15. Pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue) due to solids and liquids.

Murder isn’t on the Top 15 list. The No. 15 cause claimed 17,011 lives in 2010. There were 12,996 murders in the same year.

Is your company doing something special for National Safety Month? Let us know how in the comments section.

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  1. edwardx says:

    This says: “Murder isn’t on the Top 15 list. The No. 15 cause claimed 17,011 lives in 2010. There were 12,996 murders in the same year.” So, I don’t know whether murder is even in the top 20 causes of death. Next time, please list 20 or 25 causes, so we can see where murder ranks and what causes are besides it. And if it is not in the top 25, then show the numbers for it.

  2. Is it poisoning when a person with INTENT makes the choice to abuse a drug knowing that too much of that drug could and will cause death ? I know there is a big push to make Opiate Pain medication out to be a no good drug that only causes addiction but; 100 million American’s suffer from chronic pain – 30 million Americans with Chronic Pain need Opiates to ease their pain – about 12 million Americans need to use Opiates everyday just so they can bathe, work, go to church, hold a child, not be a burden to family and to suffer less. A poisoning would really be accidental and addicts don’t accidently take their drug, its intentional. Opiates are now rarely prescribed to pain patients and soon the suicide rate will pass the drug over dose rate in the USA. In 1 year we could have as many as 250,000 suicides all due to un-treated chronic pain. Where will that number fall on your CAUSE chart ?

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