INTRODUCTION: Poisoning is a common cause of emergency visits and hospital admission in Western countries. The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence and type of toxic exposures presenting to emergency medical facilities in Iceland. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was prospective and included all patients with confirmed or suspected poisoning presenting to hospitals and rural medical centers providing emergency services in Iceland during the twelve-month period from April 2001 until March 2002. RESULTS: A total of 1,121 toxic exposures were documented representing an incidence of 3.91 cases per 1,000 inhabitants per year. The female to male ratio was 1.23. The majority of exposures (56.7%) occurred in the patient's home, 60% were deliberate, 72% had drugs and/or alcohol as their main cause, and 11% involved illicit drugs. Exposures to chemicals other than drugs were usually unintentional. CONCLUSION: Toxic exposures requiring emergency medical care are common in Iceland. Self-poisonings by ingestion of prescription drugs and/or alcohol accounted for the majority of cases.