WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has passed Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Sen. George Allen’s, R-Va., bill to protect children and pets from antifreeze poisoning.

In May, Pryor and Allen introduced the Engine Coolant and Antifreeze Bittering Agent Act that requires manufacturers of engine coolant or antifreeze to include a bittering agent in their products making them unpalatable to children and pets. Pryor said that denatonium benzoate, the world’s most bitter substance, would be added to antifreeze sold in quantities of 55 gallons or less, costing manufacturers 3 cents per gallon.

An estimated 1,400 children and 10,000 household pets accidentally ingest antifreeze each year because they mistake its sweet taste for that of soft drinks. Pryor said less than a teaspoon of antifreeze can be fatal.

“Accidents involving the ingestion of antifreeze are tragic, not only because of the harm they cause children and pets, but because they are avoidable” said Pryor. “The vote by the committee demonstrates a strong commitment to put safety first, and it brings us a step closer to preventing these accidents from occurring in the future.”

The legislation has been endorsed by the antifreeze industry, public health organizations and animal welfare organizations. It now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

“This bill presents a commonsense and simple solution to a problem that should not be overlooked,” said Pryor. “I appreciate my colleagues support to prevent these accidents, and I look forward to bringing this measure before the full Senate as soon as possible.”