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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 in order to improve both the problem of Carbon monoxide and the smog in the atmosphere. MTBE increases gasoline’s oxygen content and reduces the environmental pollution. However, 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, you should test your water for MTBE contamination. If your water is contaminated with MTBE, MTBE can be remove 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 the drinking water is not a solution for gettign rid of MTBE. Studies show that MTBE is a toxic carcinogen that can harm immune system and result in 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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