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January 13, 2010

Bill to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning Poised to Become Law in New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. — The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its 436,000 supporters in the Garden State, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund  praise the New Jersey Senate for approving a measure that will save countless animal lives and reduce the number of childhood emergencies. The bill, S. 979, which requires an aversive agent be added to antifreeze products, was championed by Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland.

"Poisoning occurs with antifreeze because it is often inadvertently spilled in our driveways or left in open containers in our garages," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the HSLF. "We're very grateful to Senator Van Drew for his leadership on this important piece of legislation which should help prevent many unnecessary deaths every year."

The bill passed the Senate Monday after having been approved by the Assembly in 2008. It was supported by The HSUS, HSLF, the Consumer Specialty Products Association and Honeywell International, manufacturers of Prestone®, one of the country's best known brands of antifreeze.

An estimated 1,400 children and 10,000 animals are poisoned each year after ingesting ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance used in antifreeze and coolant in automobiles. Ethylene glycol's sweet smell and taste makes the deadly substance attractive to animals and children. The bill will require manufacturers to add denatonium benzoate, an intensely bitter agent to antifreeze and coolant sold in the state that renders the product unpalatable. The additive would cost manufacturers an additional 2 to 3 cents per gallon.

With the governor's signature, New Jersey will become the 10th state to pass a bill requiring antifreeze contain a bittering agent. The other states where the HSLF has worked to pass similar legislation are: Arizona, California, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. Bills are pending in Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Ohio.

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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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