Law Requiring Antifreeze Bittering Agent Takes Effect

Nashville, TN (2009-12-31) The Haley Ham Law requiring a bittering agent in all antifreeze sold in Tennessee takes effect on January 1, 2010. The law is intended to help prevent the accidental or intentional poisoning of people, pets and other animals as a result of ingesting antifreeze or engine coolants.

“As the agency charged with enforcing this new law, we are working with the manufacturers and retailers to ensure compliance,” said Commissioner Ken Givens. “Consumers can feel confident that antifreeze manufactured and sold after Jan. 1 in Tennessee will contain the bittering agent.”

Without the added bittering agent, antifreeze has a sweet aroma and flavor. Ethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze, is toxic to humans and animals. An estimated 10,000 animals are poisoned by ethylene glycol and approximately 1,400 children ingest ethylene glycol each year in the U.S.

Haley Ham, of Sevierville, was the catalyst for this new law. She contacted Tennessee legislators when her two dogs were intentionally poisoned by antifreeze. She attended committee meetings and spoke with media in support of the bill.

“It’s been years. I’ve matured – moved on, but it’s something that’ll stick with me for the rest of my life,” said Ham. “Obviously, I’m proud. And as I said in one of my old interviews – I just wanted justice. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, that’s the reason, that’s the motive.”

Manufacturers have already been contacted about the new law and are expected to comply. The penalty for noncompliance is a Class C misdemeanor.

The bill was sponsored by former state Senator Raymond Finney and State Representative Janis Sontany and signed into law by Governor Phil Bredesen.

“I am happy to have sponsored this bill,” said Sontany. “More animals and children are safer because of this added bittering agent.”

For more information, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/regulatory/antifreeze.html.