September 24, 2022

SEP 24, toxic vignette: antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning

Authors' Note  Poisoning with sweet-smelling ethylene glycol is a common toxic problem for humans and pets owing to its wide commercial distribution in products including antifreeze and windshield washer fluid.

 Discovered in 1958, denatonium benzoate (sold under various tradenames, including Bitrex), tastes unbearably bitter to most mammals, even in low concentations, but is not apparently harmful otherwise. It has been used to prevent ingestion of a variety of consumer products. In 2012, all American manufacturers of antifreeze voluntarily agreed to add denatonium to these liquids in order to reduce fatal poisonings.

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