July 18, 2005

Groups back U.S. bill to make antifreeze bitter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A pack of dogs joined forces with
industry and consumer groups on Monday to urge Congress to pass
legislation requiring antifreeze manufacturers to make their
otherwise sweet tasting product less appealing to animals and

With several dogs looking on, representatives of industry
and animal rights groups told the Senate Commerce subcommittee
on consumer affairs they back legislation requiring
manufacturers to put an agent into antifreeze, a toxic
substance, to give it a bitter taste.

Denatonium benzoate is one of the bitterest substances
available and is used in other household products to discourage
children from ingesting them.

Sara Amundson of the Doris Day Animal League told the panel
that 1,400 children ingest antifreeze each year, and that as
many as 10,000 dogs and cats a year are poisoned by it. It is
the poison of choice for disgruntled people seeking to quiet a
neighborhood dog.

Subcommittee Chairman George Allen, who invited pet owners
to bring their dogs to the hearing, said his panel would act on
legislation soon and that he expected to the full Senate to
pass the measure.

"We need to be moving on this," the Virginia Republican

Jeffrey Bye, vice president of Prestone, a unit of
Honeywell International Inc., said domestic antifreeze
producers support the legislation. The industry, faced with a
myriad of state and local laws requiring a bitter tasting
product, joined forces last year with the Doris Day Animal
League to back a national standard, he said.

The proposed bill would also protect antifreeze
manufacturers from liability associated with the bitter tasting
agent. Manufacturers and distributors of denatonium benzoate
would be liable for that agent, while antifreeze manufacturers
would continue to be liable for ethylene glycol antifreeze
itself, Bye said.