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Gov. Kaine Signs Bill to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning

Virginia Joins 7 Other States Requiring Bittering Agent To Be Added

The Humane Society of the United States

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has signed a bill that will save countless animal lives and prevent childhood emergencies. The new law requires that an aversive agent be added to antifreeze products sold in the Commonwealth. It was championed by Delegate Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights.

"Tragic cases of poisoning occur when antifreeze is inadvertently spilled in driveways or left in open containers in garages," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "Virginia now joins the seven other states that have passed similar antifreeze legislation promoting animal protection and public safety."

The seven other states that have passed similar laws are Arizona, California, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.

Yvonne Royster, an animal lover and former U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, had learned about the accidental poisoning of two pet dogs on her route, and wanted to make sure this didn't happen to any dogs or children in the future. She contacted Delegate Cox and urged him to take action.

The bill was supported by The Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States, Consumer Safety Products Association, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and animal advocates from across Virginia.

"We can't thank Delegate Cox enough for his leadership on this issue," said Ann Church, The HSUS' Virginia senior state director. "His bill protects Virginia's children and pets, and I hope it will inspire lawmakers in other states to take action."

Specifically, the law requires that engine coolant/antifreeze that is more that 10 percent ethylene glycol must also contain denatonium benzoate, the world's bitterest known substance, to render it unpalatable. Hundreds of children and thousands of animals, including pets and endangered species, are accidentally poisoned each year from ingesting antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts them, but less than a teaspoon can be fatal. One survey found that two out of three veterinarians see at least one accidental ethylene glycol poisoning each year.


The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at hslf.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.