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We are writing in response to the article, "Jefferson woman's tragedy helps push antifreeze bill forward" (The Times, Feb. 6).
In particular, we would like to correct an assertion by Becky Davis, an advocate of antifreeze legislation (HB 219, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Benton), that there are "about 6,000 children who die each year from antifreeze" and "about 242 people in Georgia die every year, which is almost a person a day." This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
There have been very few serious accidental human exposures to antifreeze, and to the best of our knowledge no childhood deaths. In fact, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that in 2008, there were a total of only seven deaths in the United States from ingesting antifreeze. Significantly, six of these deaths were determined to have been caused by intentional abuse. In the one other death, intentional abuse could not be conclusively proven or disproved; and all of these cases involved persons over 21 years of age.
The AAPCC has indeed reported no deaths of any child under the age of 6 related to accidental ingestion of ethylene glycol-based automotive antifreeze since it began collecting data in 1983. Additionally, the total number of exposures to antifreeze amounted to less than one-quarter of one percent, or 0.19 percent, of the total exposure-related calls received by poison control centers throughout the United States in 2008.
Nevertheless, the antifreeze industry joins Becky Davis in supporting Georgia House Bill (HB 219) and has worked proactively with Rep. Benton to ensure that antifreeze maintains its strong safety profile.
We strongly urge that you present the facts about antifreeze exposure and prevent the spread of misinformation about a good and safe product that continues to provide many benefits to society.
D. Douglas Fratz
Consumer Specialty Products Association, Washington, DC