Doctor Developed Mr. Yuk

Richard Moriarty said the warning symbol was designed 'by kids for kids'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2023 3:24 PM CDT
Updated Sep 8, 2023 3:45 PM CDT
Richard Moriarty's Mr. Yuk Still Warns of Poison Danger
Moriarty displays his Mr. Yuk money clip at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pennsylvania in June.   (John Colombo /Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Dr. Richard W. Moriarty, a retired pediatrician who helped create the bright green Mr. Yuk sticker that warns kids away from poisonous substances, has died. He was 83. Moriarty died on Thursday in Pittsburgh, according to a funeral home, the AP reports. Moriarty was involved in establishing and developing the Pittsburgh Poison Center, where he served as director. When the poison awareness campaign began in 1971, Moriarty said, the response by children in focus groups to the Mr. Yuk sticker's sickly green color and upset face was instrumental. "The Mr. Yuk symbol was designed by kids for kids," he said.

The mascot has become used nationwide to identify substances that, if ingested, are harmful, per CBS News. Moriarty graduated from medical school at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a longtime faculty member. Charged with modernizing the Poison Center in the late 1960s, he pioneered data collection, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Physicians like Dr. Moriarty really led the way in putting some logic to poison treatment," said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, one of the creators of the national poison database. Moriarty served on the boards of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Pittsburgh Public Theater.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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