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MTBE Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether The word sounds like its foreign It might even sound like it is out of that nerd in highschools chemistry book but it is becoming as common as wildfires in Redding Until about seven years ago when it was first introduced into our lives many Americans had never even heard the word methyl tertiary butyl ether Now with all of its controversy and Record Searchlight headlines most people know that it is an additive in our gasoline that helps oxygenate the fuel and reduce emissions when the fuel is burned Although very few know all of the details about MTBE This chemical that was supposed to be the cure to global warming also has been found to contaminate our precious ground water and is possibly a carcinogen This pollution is what all of the yelling and screaming in the state and federal legislatures has been about Seven years ago methyl tertiary butyl ether was found when mixed with gasoline or diesel to reduce emissions It would reduce emissions by oxygenating the gas and burning cleaner This cleaner burning fuel quickly led to the phase in of the new chemical into our nations gasoline and diesel MTBE gained nationwide popularity due to the fact that it easily helped the gasoline industry comply with the Clean Air Act of 1990 requiring a two- percent by weight oxygenation for all reformulated gasoline The popularity of this additive in gasoline led it to become the nations fourth largest selling chemical Nations Health Unfortunately the chemicals inventors and the Environmental Protection Agency must have not done their homework After the initial excitement over MTBE the EPA advisory panel comprising diverse interests from environmentalists to oil industry executives and state regulators found that while reformulated gasoline has contributed to significant air quality improvements The use of MTBE should be reduced substantially because it poses a growing threat to drinking water The panel noted that
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