Making antifreeze safer for children and animals

May 5, 2013

Antifreeze often looks like a sports-drink or Kool-Aid and it can have a sweet smell that attracts animals and kids. A bill in the Michigan legislature would require that a bittering agent be added to antifreeze so humans and animals don’t want to drink it.

Animals and children are sometimes drawn to antifreeze's sweet smell and bright colors.
Animals and children are sometimes drawn to antifreeze's sweet smell and bright colors.
Credit Flickr user "Steve and Sara"

Steve Bieda, a senator from Macomb County, is sponsoring the bill. A while ago one of his constituents told him a story about how his beloved hound dog accidentally drank some antifreeze that leaked from the car onto the garage floor. The dog died a painful, agonizing death.

Bieda's bill would require manufacturers to add a bittering agent to the liquid by January 2015. Bieda says he’s heard from several people who had siblings who drank the poisonous liquid as children. He says he’s consulted with groups of physicians and public safety advocates who say this is good policy. Bieda also says this legislation is about saving lives and preventing suffering.

The Senate passed the bill almost unanimously and it now moves to the House.