New antifreeze law will protect children & pets in the commonwealth

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Antifreeze may work well for your vehicle but it can be a fatal attraction if ingested by your pet or young child. It's a problem that has led the commonwealth to take action. A few licks of antifreeze can lead to a lethal blow for your pet.

"Crystals form in the urine and those crystals can build up in the kidney and cause kidney failure," said Dr. Stacy Riddle, Colonial Heights Veterinary Hospital.

It's estimated that nearly 10,000 pets die, nationwide, from ingesting the toxic substance yearly. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and smell. For many animals and children that can be irresistible. It's a concern for Ann Moore who says her dog Noah is curious.

"The garage is always shut off and if we have chemicals they're kept up on shelves," said Moore.

To help prevent antifreeze poisoning a new law will take effect in Virginia. It requires manufactures who sell antifreeze in the commonwealth to add a bitter tasting agent to the product.

"It makes it where you wouldn't want to lick it off the driveway. It takes the sweetness out of it," said Colonial Heights Delegate Kirk Cox.

Delegate Kirk Cox introduced the bill that was later passed by Governor Tim Kaine.

"It only takes about a half a teaspoon to kill a dog and less to kill a cat, so we did the research and found out it was a bigger problem than even people realized," said Kirk Cox.

The new law will take effect January 2011.

"It gives them time to sell the current anti-freeze off their shelves and by 2011 it gives them plenty of time to get the right antifreeze on their shelves," Cox said.

Virginia is now one of seven states that have adopted such a measure in recent years. The veterinarian we spoke with says young kids and pets usually get into antifreeze when the pet owner or parent fails to properly secure the substance. Manufacturers who don't comply with the new law will be fined.

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