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RE: Anti-Freeze

Subject: RE: Anti-Freeze
From: Randall Young <ryoung@NAVCOMTECH.COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 16:59:29 -0700

On Tuesday, October 24, 2000 2:55 PM, Dave Williams 
[] wrote:
>  Ethylene glycol, with additives and packaged as coolant, is incredibly
> sour and tastes *terrible*.  No animal is going to take more than a
> couple of licks.  I drank some of the stuff once to prove it's not as
> big a deal as some people claim.  EG *is* toxic; it'll wreck your
> innards if you drink enough of it, but you'd be hard up to actually
> swallow that much.

I'll agree, my dogs and cats have never shown an interest in the stuff. 
 However, a thirsty animal will drink almost anything liquid including urine 
and saturated saltwater.  The National Animal Poison Control Center logged 510 
cases of EG poisoning in the US between 7/95 and 12/97 (18 months), 28% 
resulted in death.

BTW, EG is considerably more toxic to dogs than humans (even taking the 
disparity in body mass into account), and another 3 times more toxic to cats.

>  Propylene glycol, marketed as "safe" coolant, is still toxic; roughly
> 50% as much as ethylene glycol.  If you can manage to choke enough of it
> down it will still kill you.  The whole safety thing is a marketing
> sham.

Actually death from PG poisoning is rare.  It wrecks your nervous system, but 
doesn't kill your kidneys as EG does.  It's actually used as anti-freeze in 
potable water systems, like my motorhome.  While enough of it will kill you, 
it's LD50 is listed as 20 grams/kilogram, which means a 220 pound man would 
have to drink almost 1/2 gallon of the stuff to have a 50% chance of dying. 
 That's less toxic than 100 proof whiskey (LD50 = 14 g/kg).  By contrast, 1/2 
cup of EG is considered a lethal dose in humans.

>  Lots of people claim PG tastes sweet and animals and children will
> drink it; I taste tested several brands, and that's absolutely not so.

Must be a personal taste thing then.  It doesn't taste any worse to me than my 
first single-malt Scotch (whiskey) did, and does have sort of a sweet 

Bottom line : I still use EG as anti-freeze (PG in addition to being more 
expensive is also not as good a coolant), but make darned sure no animals 
(human or otherwise) get to drink it.


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