Antifreeze Adds Bitterant to Protect Pets and ChildrenPublished January 9, 2013
Each year 10,000 to 90,000 animals are poisoned after ingesting antifreeze. According to Sara Amundson, the executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, antifreeze is one of the most dangerous substances for both animals and children. The main ingredient in the majority of brands of antifreeze is ethylene glycol.
Since it has a sweet aroma and also has a highly appealing taste, this product is extremely tempting for both pets and children to ingest. As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze for a cat, or two teaspoons for a dog can be potentially lethal. It is necessary to seek immediate emergency veterinary attention if you suspect that your pet has swallowed this product. Learning how to detect the early signs of antifreeze poisoning is crucial in saving your pet’s life.
Because antifreeze is potentially so deadly to pets, according to the Animal Rescue Site, the product manufacturers have voluntarily proposed a change to its formulation in order to make its odor and taste repugnant to animals. Denatonium benzoate, a bitter tasting agent, will be added to all antifreeze and engine coolant products manufactured for sale to consumers in the United States. This bitterant agent has been safely used for many years to help folks stop nail biting, and it is also found in many common household products.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund partnered with the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) to pass laws requiring the addition of bitterant in seventeen states. Phil Klein, the executive vice president of legislative and public affairs for CSPA said, "Today, all major marketers are placing bitterant in antifreeze in all 50 states." The Humane Society Legislative Fund is praising all the manufacturers for taking this significant step which will help protect the pets, children and wildlife throughout the entire country.
However, Klein cautions consumers to carefully continue reading the product labels and follow all the instructions provided about how to correctly store and dispose of antifreeze.
Consumers can further reduce the risk of accidental antifreeze poisoning by using brands that contain propylene glycol. This chemical ingredient is less toxic to animals than ethylene glycol it also has a bitter taste that makes it less appealing to pets. But even though propylene glycol is bitter it nonetheless remains toxic, requiring it to be stored safely out of harm’s way. Users should fix leaks and clean up any spills immediately.
This writer also sends kudos to the antifreeze manufacturers for helping to keep our pets and kids safer by adding bitterant to their products. What do you think? Tell us in a comment.