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Antifreeze to be bitter

Antifreeze in B.C. will never taste the same.

Antifreeze in B.C. will never taste the same.

B.C. aims to prevent accidental poisoning of animals and small children by becoming the first province to require a bittering agent in toxic antifreezes and coolants, the environment minister announced yesterday.

“Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) is not only poisonous, but has a very sweet and inviting taste,” said Barry Penner. “Unfortunately, it makes it very inviting to animals.”

The addition of a bitter compound that is used in nail-biting remedies, aims to make antifreeze less inviting to pets and reduce the number that are killed every year.

Craig Daniell, CEO of the B.C. SPCA, said a tablespoon of ethylene glycol antifreeze will kill a small dog, even less will kill a cat.

“It is a horrible way for any animal to die,” Daniell said.

Ingesting it causes vomiting, diarrhea, unconsciousness and kidney failure.

Daniell is hopeful that the bittering agent will also help prevent the rare cases of intentional poisoning.

In October, a Great Pyrenees near Cranbrook died after it ate a piece of meat that had been soaked in antifreeze.

B.C.’s regulation, which takes effect in 2011, is based on similar ones in California and Oregon and would only add “pennies” to the price of a litre of antifreeze or coolants.

 
 
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