Aversive agent

Aversive agents are unpleasantly flavored substances added to poisonous household goods in order to discourage children and animals from consuming the poisonous household products. Aversive agents are not intended to be harmful, only unpleasant. For example, to prevent children from consuming poisonous anti-freeze, which has a sweet flavor due to the ethylene glycol, an aversive agent is added, which gives the anti-freeze an unpleasant taste. There are two primary classes of aversive agents: bitterants, chemicals producing a bitter flavor, and pungent agents, chemicals producing an unpleasantly pungent flavor.[1]

See also

  • Denaturation (food), the deliberate addition of an unpleasantly flavored or poisonous substances to food in order to prevent the consumption of the food for various reasons.
  • Adulterant, a substance added to food for deceptive or malicious reasons, for example to cheaply replace legitimate ingredients.
  • Denatonium, also known as Bitrex, an aversive agent often added to household products.


  1. Final Report Study of Aversive Agents (PDF). Consumer Product Safety Commission United States of America. 18 November 1992. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
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