The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety, and Insurance has scheduled a hearing for Monday, July 18, 2005, at 10 a.m., in room 253 of the Russell Building, on S. 1110, the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Agent Act of 2005.
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Click here for video of this hearing.
Witness Panel 1
Ms. Sara AmundsonDoris Day Animal League
TESTIMONY OF SARA AMUNDSON
DORIS DAY ANIMAL LEAGUE
CONSUMER AFFAIRS, PRODUCT SAFETY AND INSURANCE SUBCOMMITTEE
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION
IN SUPPORT OF S. 1110
JULY 18, 2005
Good morning. Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity to testify today in support of the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Agent Act. I am Sara Amundson, Legislative Director for the Doris Day Animal League or (DDAL). DDAL has 350,000 members and supporters nationwide who strongly support S. 1110. The organization was founded in 1987 to promote the protection of animals through legislative advocacy in the states and on the federal level. DDAL is grateful to Chairman Allen and Ranking Member Pryor for their leadership on S. 1110, with the ultimate goal of protecting animals and children. This bill enjoys broad support from an unlikely coalition of animal advocacy organizations, public health organizations, and the antifreeze industry. In addition to DDAL, these supporters include the American Humane Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, Honeywell and the Consumer Specialties Products Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pet Food Institute. Animals and Children are Exposed to Antifreeze For the past fifteen years, the DDAL has been tracking ingestions of antifreeze by pets and wildlife. Poisoning occurs with this product because it is often inadvertently spilled in our driveways or left in open containers in our garages by automotive “do-it-yourselfers.” Because it is colorful and has a sweet taste, animals and children are drawn to it and may quickly ingest a lethal amount. In addition, a neighbor wishing to rid himself of a bothersome barking dog or wandering cat may purposefully bait a pet, instigating a cruel solution to a neighborhood squabble. One teaspoon of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a cat. Two tablespoons can kill a small, 10-pound dog. One survey found that two out of three veterinarians see at least one accidental ethylene glycol poisoning each year. The vet school at Washington State University estimates the annual number of dog and cat antifreeze poisonings at as many as 10,000. And unfortunately, the symptoms of poisoning can be misleading, causing the pet lover to think the animal is merely sleepy until renal failure causes death. According to statistics compiled by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, as many as 1400 children ingest antifreeze each year. The U.S. National Library of Medicine Toxicology Data Network states that the minimum lethal dose for a 150-pound male is 4 ounces, which means it takes far less to kill a child. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, ingestion by children is caught early enough to ensure the antidote prevents lethal consequences. Ethylene glycol antifreeze has been manufactured for decades by the antifreeze industry and due to the ready availability of the chemical, we fully expect its continued dominance in the marketplace. Denatonium benzoate The good news is that, unlike many of the issues we grapple with, this one has a ready solution. DDAL certainly considers safety caps, seals and public education necessary. However, three states and several other countries have chosen to add another tool, which is requiring the addition of denatonium benzoate to antifreeze available in the consumer market. Denatonium benzoate (DB) is one of the bitterest substances known and available to us. In 1963, the Food and Drug Administration approved the addition of DB to cosmetic and toiletry products including nail polish, hair spray and cleaners as a safety mechanism to deter children from ingesting them. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (27 CFR 21.76) requires that all industrial alcohol-based products contain a bittering agent and specifically requires the use of DB in certain products as a denaturant, making the product unpalatable. The addition of the bitterant has not compromised the usefulness of the products. The required addition of denatonium benzoate to consumer-packaged antifreeze will save thousands of animal lives and prevent hundreds of children from being sent to emergency rooms each year. DDAL strongly urges your support of this small measure, literally costing pennies per gallon, to achieve significant, beneficial consequences. California State Law The Doris Day Animal League has a long history of lobbying in support of state legislation to require the addition of denatonium benzoate to make antifreeze unpalatable to both animals and children. In 1993, in response to concerns from veterinary emergency rooms, DDAL members who had lost a beloved pet, the death of a California condor, and the startling statistics on children gathered annually by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, we successfully lobbied the California Legislature to require the addition of denatonium benzoate to antifreeze and coolant products. In spite of significant opposition mounted by the manufacturers of antifreeze, the bills passed with overwhelming votes in both the California Assembly and Senate. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the bill. Then in 2000, after losing her family’s beloved dog Angus to antifreeze poisoning, Californian Lauren Ward began researching the solution to her family’s tragedy. She contacted her state legislators to demand to know why the simple addition of DB to antifreeze to help prevent these unnecessary deaths wasn’t required by the state. Fortunately, her assemblyman agreed to introduce a bill to require the bitterant be added. Our research in support of the California bill demonstrated that in the ten years that had passed, despite the voluntary efforts by the antifreeze industry to educate the public, there was little progress in reducing the numbers of animals and children poisoned by ingesting antifreeze. In 2001, 13 California veterinary clinics reported 136 cases of antifreeze poisoning with 107 deaths. Working with Lauren Ward and members of the California state Senate and Assembly, we lobbied again for passage of an antifreeze bittering bill. The California Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Veterinary Medical Association and the California Integrated Waste Management Board all supported the legislation. Over the objections of the antifreeze industry, the bill passed and was signed into law in 2002. Subsequently, we have worked with legislators in New Mexico, Nevada, and several other states to support bills to require the addition of denatonium benzoate to antifreeze. This year, New Mexico became the third state to pass this bill into law. And the language is identical to the federal bill before you today. While DDAL certainly supports the pursuit of progressive policy by states, because of the nature of commerce in this country and because these poisonings occur regardless of state lines, it is imperative to pass a federal bill to ensure that the goal of reducing antifreeze poisonings is realized. It is important to extend to each child and every animal the extra layer of protection that these states have so wisely adopted. This can be accomplished in a timely and sensible manner only through federal action. A product marketed on a national basis should have a national standard to meet. Moreover, the absence of a federal law undermines the effectiveness of existing state laws: The ease of interstate transportation necessitates a uniform policy to prevent antifreeze spills in California from cars driving into the state from Nevada. It is impossible to judge the effectiveness of these new state laws based on the interstate nature of the problem. In fact, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, at its 2004 annual meeting, passed a resolution urging Congress to “help cities protect children and animals by enacting legislation” to require the addition of DB to antifreeze. Conclusion Antifreeze poisoning causes animals great suffering, and often death. In addition to the accidents that happen, DDAL knows of numerous cases where individuals have deliberately given antifreeze to animals because they wanted to kill them. One database recently reported on cases in Iowa (where authorities at the time were investigating 8 cases), Michigan, Montana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania. We have been working with a family in Georgia that is trying to get justice for their two dogs killed by a belligerent neighbor. And of course, Representative McCoy, who successfully carried the bill in New Mexico, lost her own companion animal in the same way. Where the perpetrator is known, it often is a neighbor; occasionally it is an adolescent just starting down the path of antisocial behavior. They use antifreeze because it is easy to get, easy to give, and almost guaranteed to kill. Accidents can happen despite the best prevention and precautions, and sadly there are always those who seek an easy way to harm animals. This legislation will do much to prevent both kinds of tragedies from happening. Please support S. 1110, the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Agent Act.
Ms. Jacqueline ElderAssistant Executive Director for Hazard Identification and ReductionConsumer Product Safety Commission
JACQUELINE ELDER, ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
FOR HAZARD IDENTIFICATION AND REDUCTION
U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE
ON CONSUMER AFFAIRS, PRODUCT SAFETY, AND INSURANCE
July 18, 2005
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning. I am pleased to have this opportunity to come before your subcommittee today. I am the Assistant Executive Director for Hazard Identification and Reduction at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC. The CPSC is a bipartisan, independent agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC has delivered critical safety benefits to America’s families and has made a significant contribution to the 30% decline in the rate of deaths and injuries related to hazardous consumer products. We are proud of our mission and our achievements, and we appreciate the support that Congress has extended to the agency and to its goals over the years. In my role at the CPSC, I oversee the technical work of the agency within the directorates for Epidemiology, Engineering Sciences, Economic Analysis, Health Sciences and Laboratory Sciences. My office is responsible for the collection and analysis of death and injury data related to consumer products that can lead to the development of voluntary and mandatory product safety standards. Today’s hearing is on S. 1110, the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Act of 2005. This legislation amends the Federal Hazardous Substances Act which is administered by the CPSC. The legislation would require engine coolant and antifreeze to contain a bittering agent to render those products unpalatable. On that subject, the CPSC was directed by Congress in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990 to conduct a study of aversive agents. CPSC completed that study and issued a final report on aversive agents in 1992, and I will direct my comments today specifically to the findings of that 1992 report. The CPSC defined the term aversive for the purpose of that study as a substance added to a product with the intent of deterring or limiting its ingestion. In 1991, the agency conducted a literature review and requested information on aversive agents, including bittering and pungent agents, from the public in a Federal Register notice. At that time, the response to the request for information and the results of the review showed that there was a general lack of information available on aversive agents other than one bittering agent, denatonium benzoate or DB. The study found that possible acute toxicity of DB does not appear to be a significant issue at the low levels used for aversion, such as the 30 to 50 parts per million range identified in the legislation. DB has been present in many household products for years. It has been required to be added to ethylene glycol-containing antifreeze by several states without documented problems. Data concerning the effectiveness of DB to decrease the amount of a substance ingested was and continues to be limited. A child will likely drink some of the product in question before he or she can detect the bitter taste. For this reason aversive agents are not recommended for use with highly toxic substances that can seriously injure or kill after one or two swallows. However, the study noted that non-drug products that require child-resistant packaging and have moderate toxicity may benefit from the addition of an aversive. Products that will not kill or severely injure in the one to three mouthful range, but are associated with toxicity at higher levels, were cited as the most appropriate products for aversion addition. In this regard the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the AAPCC, evaluated 3.8 million pediatric poisoning incidents and subsequently recommended that aversives be added to a few selected products, including ethylene glycol, which is referenced in the legislation. The 1992 study concluded that aversives, including DB, may be an additional protective measure if found to be effective. CPSC continues to underscore the importance of child-resistant packaging and consumer awareness of the proper handling and storage of hazardous and toxic substances in the home. The 1992 report concludes that aversives alone are not a substitute for these measures. However, aversives can be a part of a comprehensive safety protocol that includes these other important components. Each year, accidental ingestion of toxic household substances is associated with almost thirty deaths to children under age five. There are about one million calls to Poison Control Centers annually involving children under five years of age. The CPSC will continue to work aggressively to reduce these deaths and injuries. We are pleased that the committee is calling attention to these dangerous hazards, and I am pleased to answer any questions that the Senators may have regarding this important subject. Thank you.
The Honorable Kathy A. McCoyRepresentative (District 22)New Mexico Legislature
Testimony Before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety and Insurance
Representative Kathy McCoy of New Mexico
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and testify on a topic that will resonate with anyone who holds dear their family pets. And thank you for also considering this important legislation in a thoughtful manner. For many of us, losing a beloved pet is like losing a member of the family. I’m here today because I lost my Golden Retriever, Cujo, to a painful and prolonged death due to antifreeze poisoning. You have a chance to spare other families that tragedy by approving the legislation before you. As a member of the NM House of Representatives, I sponsored legislation that requires that a bittering agent—denatonium benzoate—be added to antifreeze. (While the bill I sponsored passed both chambers, it was actually an identical Senate bill that was signed into law by the governor.) The experience I had with my own dog was the motivating force. It’s been over 20 years since I lost Cujo, but I’ve not forgotten the devastating experience. The costs are extremely high, both emotional and financial. Anyone who believes there is little cost to families who experience this tragedy is flat wrong. Even that long ago, my vet bill was hundreds of dollars, money I could ill afford at the time. My dog was aggressively treated for over a week while I lost several days of work keeping a vigil at his side. The attempt to save him failed. Today, the cost of treating a poisoning such as this starts at $500. Even with treatment, more often than not, the pet will not survive the effects of the lethal toxins in antifreeze. Some external symptoms are seizures, hypothermia, head tremors, and vomiting. Ultimately, kidney failure results in death. Animals that do survive may suffer permanent kidney and brain damage. And unfortunately, families who don’t have the financial resources have no real choice other than euthanasia for their pet. Compare the cost to the pennies it is estimated to cost manufacturers to add denatonium benzoate to a $7 gallon of antifreeze. We’d prefer not to burden the manufacturers at all, but the high cost of not adding this bittering agent can only be measured by a family’s pain. Sadly, most of these poisonings are accidental—one of the most common ways for animals to come in contact with antifreeze is from a family car that’s leaking it. Antifreeze’s sweet flavor is irresistible to most animals, and it is lethal in as little as a quarter of an ounce. For example, a cat that walks through a puddle and then licks its paws will likely die without immediate veterinary care. And, since antifreeze tastes good to animals, it is also a method used by some to deliberately and cruelly poison animals. Because pet owners don’t typically report pet deaths due to antifreeze poisoning, I can’t accurately cite the quantity of animals deaths, but having volunteered at our local shelter for eight years, I’ve heard enough anecdotal evidence to know that it is a common occurrence. I introduced this legislation in New Mexico not only because of my personal experience, but also because of another dog named Scooby. Scooby, who was also a Golden Retriever, made news in New Mexico when he was shot in the face. He managed to survive that ordeal, only to be poisoned while he was recovering. Had he not been drawn to the antifreeze, he’d still be alive and the little girl who owned Scooby would be a happier child. Too often, we discount animal suffering and rationalize that “they’re just animals.” But they do feel pain. They do deserve to be treated humanely. And their families deserve to enjoy their company for as long as possible. This legislation before you is a step toward eliminating one form of suffering. It’s been said that the way we treat our animals is a measure of our society; today we have an opportunity to raise the bar of compassion a little higher. In my opinion, this is win-win legislation. After getting this passed in the House, I received an incredible amount of positive feedback—phone calls, letters, and people even now stop me on the street to thank me. This legislation has no downside—it not only makes economical sense, but it is also the right thing to do. I hope you will move this legislation forward for those of us who have already experienced the lethal effects of antifreeze poisoning and for those who may be exposed in the future.
Jeffrey ByeVice PresidentPrestone
TESTIMONY OF JEFFREY BYE
VICE PRESIDENT, PRESTONE
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.
BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSUMER AFFAIRS,
PRODUCT SAFETY AND INSURANCE
Hearing on S.1110, The Engine Coolant and Antifreeze
Bittering Act of 2005
JULY 18, 2005
Good Morning. I am Jeff Bye, Vice President for Prestone, a Honeywell business. Prestone has been a leader in the manufacture, marketing and sale of antifreeze products for over 75 years. I am here representing Honeywell as well as the domestic antifreeze industry, which has been organized by the Consumer Specialty Products Association. We appear before the committee in support of Senate Bill 1110. Honeywell is a diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers with aerospace products and services; control, sensing and security technologies; automotive products; specialty chemicals; fibers; and electronic materials. Based in Morris Township, New Jersey, Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange as well as on the London, Chicago and Pacific Stock Exchanges. We are one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and we are also a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The company employs over 100,000 employees, with approximately 55,000 in the United States, and is comprised of four business units: Aerospace, Automation and Control Systems; Specialty Materials, and Transportation Systems. Prestone is part of the Consumer Products Group within the Transportation Systems business unit. Honeywell is the largest manufacturer and supplier of automotive antifreeze in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its Prestone brand is the most widely recognized and distributed brand of antifreeze in North America. In the United States, our Prestone antifreeze is sold in all 50 states and through virtually all major mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart, and auto retailers, such as Autozone and Advance. In addition, we supply private label antifreeze to most major retailers in the United States. We also supply automakers, such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota, for the factory fill of their automobiles in North America. It may be helpful to understand the origin of antifreeze use in the automotive industry. Originally, motorists drove cars, such as the Ford Model T, without heaters or side and rear windows and, not surprisingly, winter driving was very unpleasant. Later, with the development of car heaters, installation of side and rear windows, and improvements in engines and engine lubricants, motorists drove more comfortably and frequently in winter and demand for engine antifreeze arose. At that time, many compounds were used with water as a form of antifreeze, including honey, sugar, molasses and, the most popular, methyl alcohol. Even methyl alcohol, however, had significant drawbacks including odor and flammability. Motorists were often uncertain about freezing protection afforded by these fluids. The antifreeze/coolant business as we know it today began with Prestone brand ethylene glycol antifreeze in 1927. It was pure ethylene glycol in cans and was packaged with charts showing the protection afforded by specific dilutions. The fluid would not evaporate or burn, was relatively odorless and offered many advantages over the substances used earlier by motorists. A few years later, Prestone developed and marketed the first inhibitor in its antifreeze to offer additional protection for the cooling system and to retard rust. In the early 1960s, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler began filling their new cars with a 50% ethylene glycol and 50% water antifreeze/coolant solution, which led to the emergence of antifreeze/coolant as a year-round functional fluid in the automotive industry. Since then, Prestone and other producers of antifreeze/coolant have developed their formulations to provide even better corrosion protection and extend the life of a car’s cooling system. Ethylene glycol, which is a major ingredient of antifreeze, is toxic. For several decades, manufacturers of antifreeze have used foil safety seals and childproof caps to guard against the accidental ingestion of antifreeze. Prestone provides prominent label warnings about proper use, storage and disposal of antifreeze. We fully comply with all child protection requirements established by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and we are dedicated to continual improvement. In addition, manufacturers have participated in public education and outreach promoting the safe use and storage of antifreeze. During the past 10 years, antifreeze manufacturers have supported the American Association of Poison Control Centers in a series of public service announcements entitled “Take Care: Car Fluids, Children and Pets.” These public service announcements also help to educate consumers about proper use and storage of antifreeze and other automobile fluids. Although it is rare that children are accidentally exposed to antifreeze, there are occasions where household pets and other animals are exposed to ethylene glycol products and are injured by ingesting the product. Some animal deaths are likely caused by intentional poisoning, such as a disgruntled person targeting a neighborhood dog that has been barking at night or causing other problems. Other animal fatalities are accidentally caused by antifreeze that has spilled or been carelessly left in improperly secured containers. We and other antifreeze manufacturers sponsor the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a resource and service for veterinarians and pet owners. The Animal Poison Control Center is the leading animal-oriented poison control center in North America, with a staff of specially trained veterinary toxicologists available to handle any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For several years, the animal rights community has encouraged local, state and federal lawmakers to pass legislation requiring antifreeze manufacturers to add denatonium benzoate (“DB”), a widely known bittering agent, to their product. The animal rights community has argued that adding DB to antifreeze would make the product taste bitter, discouraging animals from ingesting the liquid. Their legislative efforts have met with some success, with laws passed in Oregon, California and New Mexico in 1991, 2002 and 2005, respectively. Late last year, the antifreeze industry reached out to the Doris Day Animal League to develop consensus federal legislation that would address the safety concerns of the animal rights community. The consensus federal legislation – S.1110 – would require the addition of DB in antifreeze with the goal of rendering the product unpalatable and deterring children, pets and other animals from accidental poisoning. This federal legislation would create a national standard. Although California, Oregon and New Mexico have passed similar or identical laws, the legislation’s preemption would avoid the potential inconsistency and practical difficulty of manufacturers complying with what could become a patchwork of various state and local mandates. At least eight other states have been actively considering similar requirements, including Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington. Now is the appropriate time for Congress to establish a national standard before other states or localities pass inconsistent mandates. S.1110 shares many of the essential components of the state laws as well as legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in 2004. The three state laws and HR 1560, sponsored in the 108th Congress by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), all provide liability protection to antifreeze manufacturers for DB. The New Mexico law requires antifreeze manufacturers to specifically add DB as the bittering agent to their products. The laws in Oregon and California and HR 1560, which was cosponsored by 110 House Democrats and 23 House Republicans last year, allow alternatives to DB as the bittering additive, but DB is the only chemical that satisfies the legislations’ bitterness standard at the specified concentration – thereby establishing an effective mandate requiring manufacturers to use DB to fulfill the state law requirements. HR 1560 was re-introduced by Reps. Ackerman and Rohrabacher this year as HR 2567 as the companion bill to S. 1110 and is attracting bipartisan cosponsors. The difficulty of managing compliance with a patchwork of inconsistent state mandates could be significant and may hinder distribution of an adequate supply of antifreeze to some states. The effects of state-specific mandates could therefore be felt by individual consumers who may pay a higher cost for antifreeze and may not be able to buy enough for their needs. A national standard would ensure that the mandates are both uniform and cost effective. The federal legislation would also provide fair responsibility for the antifreeze and DB products by assigning liability between the respective manufacturers. Prestone scientists have developed antifreeze products that we stand behind and are willing to defend. Antifreeze manufacturers, however, do not manufacture or distribute DB. While antifreeze manufacturers are willing to add DB in compliance with a national standard, antifreeze manufacturers should not be exposed to liability for complying with that mandate. The proposed federal legislation would not change the liability of antifreeze manufacturers for their products. Under the legislation, antifreeze manufacturers continue to be liable for the ethylene glycol antifreeze itself and DB manufacturers and distributors are liable for their bittering agent. Honeywell, Prestone and the U.S. antifreeze industry appreciate the deliberative approach that Chairman George Allen and Ranking Member Mark Pryor have taken in regard to development of S. 1110, The Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Agent Act of 2005. We are ready to assist the Committee as it considers the legislation, and we will be happy to answer any of the Committee’s questions.