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Bitterant placed in antifreeze to protect pets

Gizmo A bitter flavoring agent will be added to all antifreeze and engine coolant manufactured for sale for the consumer market in the United States, a change voluntarily proposed by the manufacturers.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) had partnered with the Humane Society Legislative Fund to pass laws in seventeen states to require the addition of bitterant. "Today, all major marketers are placing the bitterant in antifreeze in all 50 states,” said Phil Klein, executive vice president, legislative and public affairs for CSPA. 

"The Humane Society Legislative Fund applauds them for taking this important step to help protect our pets, kids and wildlife in every state,” added Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Anywhere from 10,000 to 90,000 animals are poisoned each year after ingesting ethylene glycol, according to Amundson. This highly toxic substance used in auto antifreeze and coolants smells and tastes sweet, making it attractive to animals as well as children. One teaspoon of antifreeze or engine coolant can kill an average-sized cat.

By adding the bitter-tasting denatonium benzoate to antifreeze and coolant sold directly to consumers across the country, the manufacturers hope to drastically reduce the number of poisonings. Denatonium benzoate has been used in common household products and as an anti-nail biting formula for decades in the United States.

"It is vital that consumers continue to read the labels and follow label instructions on the proper use, storage and disposal of antifreeze," said Klein, executive vice president, legislative and public affairs for CSPA.  


Photo: Gizmo is a rescue cat and his owners keep him away from anti-freeze and other possible poisons by storing them responsibly.

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