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May 5, 2009

Vt. Legislature Passes Bill to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning of Pets

Nation's Largest Animal Protection Organization Urges Gov. Douglas to Sign

The Humane Society of the United States

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont State Legislature has approved H. 6, legislation that will save countless animal lives and prevent childhood emergencies. It now awaits Gov. Jim Douglas' signature into law. 

The bill requires that an aversive agent be added to antifreeze products sold in Vermont, and was sponsored by Reps. Tony Klein, East Montpelier-Middlesex, and Janet Ancel, Calais-Marshfield-Plainfield.

"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. "Eight other states have passed similar antifreeze legislation to promote animal protection and public safety. We applaud the Vermont Legislature for taking this critical step to protect children and pets in the Green Mountain State and we encourage Governor Douglas to sign H. 6 into law."

The bill would require 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 companion animals and endangered species, are accidentally poisoned each year from ingesting antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts them, but less than a teaspoon can be fatal. 

"We're grateful to Vermont lawmakers for quickly passing this life-saving measure," said Joanne Bourbeau, The HSUS' senior state director for Vermont. "By requiring antifreeze to contain a bittering agent, countless animals and children will be protected from exposure to this deadly poison."

Facts: 

  • The bill was supported by The Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States, the Consumer Specialty Products Association and animal advocates from across Vermont.
  • According to the Northern New England Poison Center, there were 72 people, 11 dogs and three cats exposed to antifreeze in Vermont alone from 2005-2008.
  • With the signing, Vermont would join the eight other states that have adopted similar legislation: Arizona, California, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. 

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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.

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. 

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