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When working on your cooling system...please keep something in mind...

Automotive coolant is EXTREMELY poisonous and even a small amount ingested will be lethal to whatever swallows it.

All common coolants are ethylene-glycol. Both the standard green coolant and the pink Dex-Cool are ethylene-glycol. About one ounce of ethylene-glycol will kill a kitten or small puppy. The nature of the death often masks the cause. Ethylene-glycol permanently damages the kidneys causing complete renal system shutdown and the victim dies slowly of its own toxins. Not a nice way to go and it often takes several days or a week to manifest itself so the original cause is seldom realized. Touch a taste of coolant to your tongue and note it's sweet taste. Animals will lap it up from puddles in the driveway or a parking lot because it tastes good to them.

Once ingested the coolant can be counteracted by activated charcoal up to the point it is absorbed into the system. There is no effective antidote at that point. Dialysis is partially effective in humans but not practical for animals.

Not to be an alarmist here, just be careful changing your coolant and dilute any spills and don't leave puddles of it lying around. Even a tiny spill can be a lethal dose.

If you are a pet owner BE AWARE and watch your animals around parking lots or if you are doing any coolant system maintenance so they won't drink any.


There is a less poisonous coolant made from propylene-glycol (PG). The PG is made by Arco and the automotive coolant is sold as the "Sierra" brand. Also, RV coolant, used for winterizingRV water systems is PG but this has no corrosion inhibitors. PG works satisfactorily as an automotive coolant but it causes about a 5% loss in cooling capacity due to it's increased viscosity and slightly lower specific heat value. There is no long life PG coolant.


I personally don't recommend the PG based coolant due to the loss in cooling system capacity. It is only effective if you drain and purge your system, anyway, which just adds more EG to the waste stream.

Incidentally, ethylene-glycol is generally considered not harmful to industrial or commercial waste treatment systems. Check with your municipality before pouring it down the drain but most areas recommend the sewer for disposal. It is toxic if ingested (like a lot of other things in the sewer...) but is compatible with waste treatment systems. It does not foul the systems like oil, brake fluid or paint thinner would. DON'T put it in a storm sewer or any place where it could drain to a creek or pool up to be ingested by some animal.

Aside from the obvious advantage of long life corrosion inhibitors (to the engine and owner) in the Dex-Cool one other advantage is that it minimizes the amount of waste ethylene-glycol introduced into the environment since it rarely needs tobe changed. This minimizes the opportunity for accidental poisonings.
 

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2005 CTS-V, 1994 Infiniti Q45
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Good post, KC... And thats true, if you spill any coolant, be sure to rinse it away or dry it as best you can!!!
 
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