November 17, 2005

Lawmakers seek to protect animals from coolant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposal that would require
industry to add an ingredient to automobile antifreeze to make
it less tasty to animals cleared a key Senate committee on

The Commerce Committee approved a measure introduced by
Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the
consumer affairs subcommittee, that would require antifreeze
and coolant manufacturers to include a bittering agent in their
liquid products.

Most common antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a bright
green liquid that tastes sweet to animals. It is lethal to pets
in small doses, the committee said.

About 10,000 dogs and cats are accidentally poisoned by
antifreeze each year, according to estimates by some veterinary

One of the most common ways for animals to come in contact
with antifreeze is from a leaking auto cooling system, the
committee said.

The panel's proposal that was sent to the full Senate for
action also would require federal consumer product regulators
to determine whether a common bittering agent, denatonium
benzoate, or DB, harms the environment. If so, the government
could substitute an alternative additive.

The legislation would exempt manufacturers from liability
if they included the DB additive in their coolant products, the
committee said.