Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Reed Gusciora to ensure that anti-freeze sold in New Jersey includes a bittering agent to prevent its poisonous ingestion by children and pets was approved 70-1 by the General Assembly on Thursday.
“Pets, especially dogs, have been known to drink antifreeze, which is a highly toxic substance that can be sweet tasting, leading to serious health issues or death,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Bittering agents are effective in helping to prevent consumption by both animals and children, who sometimes confuse the substance with bright colored sports drinks.”
The bill (A-2961) would establish a civil penalty for failing to include a bittering agent in antifreeze sold in the New Jersey. Although current law requires the use of a bittering agent in antifreeze products sold in the state, it does not provide a penalty for failing to comply with this requirement.
“This adds a little more punch to our current law to ensure that this potentially life-saving measure is complied with,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This simple procedure can help deter children and pets from accidentally ingesting anti-freeze. If manufacturers aren’t willingly complying with it, then we need to create a greater incentive for them to do so.”
The bill would fill this gap in the law by providing, in particular, that any person who fails to include a bittering agent in antifreeze would be subject to a civil penalty of $500 for each offense. The bill would also provide that when a violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues would constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.
The bill now awaits final legislative approval by the full Senate.