- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) is used as a fuel additive in reformulated gasoline to lower vehicle emissions.
- Eighteen states now have areas required to use reformulated gasoline containing MTBE to lower smog levels.
- More than 1 billion gallons of MTBE are used annually in gasoline produced in the United States.
- MTBE is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a potential cause of cancer in humans.
- MTBE has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals at the same dosage rates as benzene, a proven human carcinogen.
- EPA has issued a drinking water advisory of 20 to 40 parts per billion for MTBE in drinking water.
- MTBE makes water taste and smell like turpentine at low-level concentrations.
- MTBE is capable of contaminating water 50 times faster than other components of gasoline.
- Leaking fuel tanks, accidental fuel spills, and motorized recreational
watercraft are some of the ways MTBE gains access to drinking water sources.
- The American Chemical Society has stated as many as one third of U.S. community water supplies may be contaminated with MTBE.
- One tenth of a gallon of MTBE is enough to contaminate 13 million gallons of drinking water.
- Traditional methods for removal of hydrocarbons from water sources will not work to remove MTBE.
- Cleaning MTBE-contaminated water supplies in the US could cost billions of dollars.
- MTBE contamination has already forced closure of drinking water supplies in states including New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maine, Rhode Island, and California.
Quick Facts About MTBE
March 5, 2001