What is It?
-Methyl-t-butyl ether (MTBE) is a lead substitute introduced in 1979.
Why is it in the environment?
-It is made from blending chemicals such as isobutylene and methanol, and is used as an additive for unleaded gasoline to achieve more effective burning.
How does it affect water quality?
-MTBE may stick to particles in water, which will cause it to eventually settle to the bottom as sediment.
How does it affect adults?
- There have been no studies to date outlining the effects of drinking MTBE in humans.
-Animal testing has shown that drinking MTBE may cause gastrointestinal irritation, liver and kidney damage and nervous system damage.
How does it affect children?
What are the EPA regulations?
-The EPA has issued guidelines recommending that, to protect children, drinking water levels of MTBE not exceed 4 milligrams per liter of water (4 mg/L) for an exposure of 1-10 days.
-3 mg/L for longer-term exposures.