Seattle Organic Restaurants

Drinking water & MTBE

In this section of Seattle Organic Restaurants I’m going to talk about MTBE in our water supply. In 1979 methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was added to gasoline we use for our cars to improve both the problems of Carbon monoxide and smog in the atmosphere. MTBE increases gasoline’s oxygen content and reduces the environmental pollution. Recent studies and report shows that MTBE has been seeping into our both surface and underground water supply at an alarming rate.

MTBE can contaminate our water supply by leaking from gasoline reservoirs or tanks and rivers that are permitted to use gasoline watercraft. If your drinking water is supplied by public water system they can test your water for MTBE contamination. If your water is contaminated with MTBE they can remove it by the existing technologies such as advanced oxidation, air stripping and granular activated carbon. 12 ounces or one third of a gallon of MTBE can contaminate 13 million gallons of drinking water. Boiling drinking water cannot get rid of this agent. Studies show that MTBE is a carcinogen that can harm immune system and cause cancer.


The blood or urine test can determine whether or not you’ve been exposed to MTBE. MTBE can even be absorbed through the skin and can be inhaled as a vapor in the air. Inhaling MTBE can cause respiratory problems like asthma, headaches and burning throat and nose and dizziness.



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