Bill aims to protect kids and pets by making anti-freeze taste bad

(WXYZ) - It looks like Kool-Aid, tastes sweet, and can be deadly.

The Children's Hospital Poison Control Center alone saw more than one dozen children who suffered from antifreeze poisoning last year.

The chemical is also dangerous for pets, who often get into it after it drips from a leaking vehicle, or is left in a garage.  If a family is lucky enough to get to veterinarian in time for treatment, they face large bills. The medicine used to treat pets poisoned by antifreeze can cost as much as $1,000. 

Michigan State Senator Steven Bieda (D-Macomb County)  says he hopes a bill he introduced will help protect kids and pets.

"Many children and pets are harmed, and there is a simple way to prevent it," said Bieda.

The bill would require flavoring be added to antifreeze, so it tastes bad.  The hope is that would discourage an animal or child from swallowing it.

Dr. Melissa Holahan, D.V.M. a veterinarian at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services says it is a step in the right direction, but not a solution.  She says she hopes such a move doesn't result in people acting with less caution.

"It doesn't take much, maybe a teaspoon of antifreeze to kill a small dog," said Dr. Holahan.

Charles and Heather Rice say the poisoning takes over a dog quickly. 

The Detroit couple is still mourning the death of their dog Leo.  He got out of the yard one day this month, and when he came back he was sick with antifreeze poisoning.

They took their dog to Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, but it was too late.  His kidneys were already failing. 

Heather Rice is grieving for her dog, but thinking of children who have been poisoned.  She has seen them before, as she is an E.R. doctor at Oakwood Hospital.

"If it would save just one pet or child, the bill would be worth it," she said.

"We are the auto capital of the world.  This is a chemical used in cars.  We should be on top of making it as safe a chemical as possible," said Charles Rice.

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