Whether the mercury is rising or falling, each season brings a new host of smells, tastes and activities suited to what the weather has in store. With these changes come hazards particular to each season. One such hazard, especially in the winter months, is ethylene glycol in nntifreeze...
Antifreeze is a huge hazard even in very small doses. Furthermore, the agent that makes it toxic is often also present in products like de-icers, plumbing pipe solutions, chemicals for photo developing, hydraulic brake fluids and even as a filler in the bases of portable basketball hoops to weigh them down.
Some useful tips regarding Antifreeze/Ethylene Glycol:
-If you suspect that an animal has walked through, or ingested any amount of the substance, get him/her to a veterinarian immediately. Survival predominantly depends upon early intervention, prior to it effecting liver and kidneys.
-Always clean up any and all leaks/spills of anti freeze immediately and effectively. Suggestions for how best to do so include using sand, laundry detergent, newspaper and even placing tabasco or pepper on the site after cleaning it fully to deter animal form licking the area.
-Use alternative antifreeze products instead of those with ethylene glycol
-Support laws to restrict the toxin or that require bitter additives be added to deter animals from ingesting it.
-Educate others on the extreme lethality of this substance
-Alert others of spills and assist in assuring they are appropriately cleaned up
-Keep materials in your car to absorb and clean up spills as you discover them.
-Avoid touching the substance, as even absorption through the skin can be hazardous.
Fortunately some states have begun stipulating that antifreeze makers include a bitter taste additive to deter ingestion by children and animals. But until this is done across the board, and until enforcement assures compliance, this very potent toxin remains a readily available and serious threat.
Please do what you can to keep wildlife, children, your own precious fur kids, as well as those who reside in your neighborhood, safe and happy this winter season!
Dr. Pia Salk