1979 Methyl tert-butyl
ether replaces tetraethyl
lead in gasoline.
Methyl tert-butyl ether, also known as methyl
tertiary butyl ether and MTBE, is an 'organic'
compound with molecular formula
MTBE is a
volatile, flammable and colorless
liquid that is sparingly soluble.
It has a minty odor vaguely
reminiscent of diethyl ether, leading to
unpleasant taste and odor in water.
MTBE is a gasoline
additive, an oxygenate to raise the octane rating.
Its use became
controversial when found in ground water.
federal and state legislation
1992 MTBE is being used at higher
concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by
Congress in Clean
1996 Santa Monica
closes 7 of 11 drinking water wells in its Charnock well field after
discovering MTBE contamination.
1999 MTBE, manufactured by the chemical reaction
of methanol and
butylene, is being produced in very large
quantities of more than 200,000 barrels per day in the US.
October 15, 2000 Chevron announces acquisition of
2001 An associate professor of chemistry at Purdue
University finds MTBE in gasoline
supplies in systems where the fuel additive is not required.
examines 200 samples of gas taken from stations in Indiana, Illinois and
Michigan and finds that over 70% of the samples contained MTBE and 25% of the
samples contained "significant amounts of MTBE.
One ounce of MTBE can
contaminate 1,000 tons of water.
California's Water Resources Control
Board reports 48 public water drinking systems serving hundreds of thousands of
residents have been contaminated with MTBE.
This is in addition to tens
of thousands of private wells throughout California and hundreds of thousands
of private wells nationwide.
Enterprises and Unocal
settle a lawsuit filed by an environmental group which requires the oil
companies to remediate MTBE ground water
contamination at a minimum
of 700 sites in California.
ExxonMobil agrees to pay $12 million in
partial reimbursement of what South Lake Tahoe Public Utility to remediate MTBE
from ground water which had to close 12 of its 34 drinking water wells.
2003 ChevronTexaco agrees to pay
$9.1 million to settle a lawsuit arising from MTBE ground water contamination
in Cambria, California.
California Superior Court judge
approves a settlement
agreement between a dozen firms and the City of Santa Monica, California
over ground water
contamination with MTBE.
The settlement, which is valued at $312
million, includes $100 million in cash payments plus "a potentially unlimited obligation
to cleanup up the wells."
Defendants included in this settlement
ChevronTexaco, Chevron USA Inc., Chevron Products Co.,
ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Shell
Oil Products, Shell Pipeline, Equilon Enterprises, Equilon Pipeline, Texaco
Refining, Thrifty Oil, and Best California Gas.
This is believed to be
the largest settlement to date for MTBE contamination.
New York State
had identified over 13,000 sites with ground water contamination by MTBE.
New York had allowed gasoline sold in the state to include 12 to 15%
MTBE, some of the highest mixtures in the nation.
has been discovered in ground water in 28 states and estimates of the costs to
cleanup the contamination range from $30 billion to $100 billion.
estimated costs to filter some 130 municipal drinking water wells in Plainview
Long Island (New York) ranges from $390 million to $1 billion.
has removes some 6,000 leaking underground storage tanks.
2005 oil companies agreed to pay nearly a half billion dollars to settle
lawsuits filed on behalf of municipalities over MTBE contaminated ground water.
2005 Worldwide production of MTBE
has been constant at about 18 million tons/y owing to growth in
Asian markets which are
less subject to ethanol
ChevronTexaco agrees to settle a lawsuit by paying
$850,000 for ground water contamination with MTBE. The suit is filed by the Los
Osos Community Services District after MTBE from a former gas station
contaminated ground water and at least one drinking water well.
announced another settlement with a dozen oil companies over MTBE contaminated
ground water beneath Santa Monica, California.
The settling companies,
which will pay $1.5 million to end the suit, include:
Shell Oil; Shell Oil
Products; Equilon Enterprises; Shell Pipeline; TRM; ChevronTexaco; Chevron USA;
ExxonMobil; Mobil Oil; Thrifty Oil; and Best California Gas.
companies have already extracted nearly 350 million gallons of contaminated
Estimates of cleanup costs necessary to remediate MTBE
contaminated ground water nationwide run between $29 billion and $92 billion.
Some 140 municipalities and water companies have filed lawsuits against
petroleum industry defendants over ground water contamination with the fuel
Twelve oil companies, Premcor
Refining, Conoco, Tosco, Shell
Oil, Shell Oil Products, Phillips Petroleum, BP Products North America, BP
Amoco, Union Oil, UNO-VEN,
Citgo Petroleum, and
PDV Midwest Refining LLC, have agreed to pay $8 million to the village of East
Alton, Illinois to settle their
liability for drinking water wells contaminated with MTBE.
stations are believed to be the source of the contamination.
US Senators ask the EPA to provide them with information contained in a draft
report being reviewed by the agency that concludes that the gasoline additive
MTBE should be labeled a human
Perchlorate blocks the
nutrient iodide and
inhibits thyroid hormones, which are
necessary for brain development and cellular growth of a fetus or infant.
A baby with impaired
thyroid development may have
neurological defects that
result in lower IQ, mental
retardation, loss of hearing and
speech and motor skills
Perchlorate salts, a chemical compound containing
the perchlorate ion, are produced industrially by the oxidation of solutions of
sodium chlorate by electrolysis.
published a draft assessment which concludes that perchlorate is harmful to the
human thyroid, particularly in infants, when
concentration in drinking water exceed one part per billion (ppb).
perchlorate contamination in
nearly every one 104 milk samples taken from milk bought in retail stores
in Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North
Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The average concentration of perchlorate in the milk samples is 5.76
parts per billion (ppb).
38% of the samples had levels over 6 ppb.
Perchlorate is also found in 128 samples of lettuce from Arizona, California,
Florida, New Jersey, and Texas.
The States of Maryland and
Massachusetts adopted a
safety limit on perchlorate in drinking water of 1 ppb.
set a preliminary limit of 6 ppb for perchlorate in drinking water.
2005 Texas Tech University's Institute of
Environmental and Human Health finds perchlorate in virtually all samples
of women's breast milk at
levels on average almost two times greater than in cow's milk.
highest levels found in breast milk, 92 parts per billion (ppb) and 51 ppb came
from two New Jersey women.
Samples exceeding 30 ppb were found in women
from New Mexico, Missouri and Nebraska.
The average for all samples was
The study found that a 9 pound baby drinking breast milk with
10.5 ppb of perchlorate would ingest more than double the amount of perchlorate
deemed safe by a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report.
The findings concern health experts because infants and fetuses are the
most vulnerable to the thyroid-impairing
effects of the chemical.
American women with low iodine levels
exposed to a perchlorate concentration in the water of 4 parts per million, 11
million people in 26 states, have suppressed thyroid function which can lead to
health problems in them and abnormal brain development in
111,1 women tested had an average percholate level
of 2.9 parts per million.
EPA has identified 395 sites throughout the
country with ground water
contaminated by perchlorate - over half of which are in California and
Texas. Only 51 of these at this time are undergoing remediation.
2006 Suggested limit of percholate in drinking water, modified
by the George Walker Bush to 25 ppb, is 10 times higher than it should
standard lower than 5 ppb, as research suggested, expected costs of cleanup to
the DoD and several of its major contractors is staggering.
Bernardino, California, Lockheed Martin agrees to
clean up perchlorate contaminated ground water.
Olin Corp is the liable
party for perchlorate contamination in hundreds of drinking water wells in
Santa Clara County, California.
The ten mile plume of contamination
emanated from a former flare manufacturing plant Olin Corp. operated from 1955
Tests of Santa Clara wells have found some 227 wells with
perchlorate above the states safety limit of 6 parts per billion.
wells had levels above 100 parts per billion.
"The evidence on
trichloroethylene is overwhelming. 2001 Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is as much as 40 times more
likely to cause cancer
than the EPA had previously believed.
We have 80 epidemiological
studies and hundreds of toxicology studies.
They are fairly consistent
in finding cancer risks that cover a range of tumors." - Dr. Gina Solomon,
environmental medicine UC San Francisco
1400 military properties
nationwide are polluted with trichloroethylene.
The Pentagon buries the
Huge trichloroethylene plumes lie under swaths of
California, Texas, New York and Florida.
The San Fernando and San
Gabriel (30 square miles) valley aquifers of the Los Angeles basin are largely
contaminated with trichloroethylene and there is
high ambient levels of
trichloroethylene in the air.
243 wells have been shut down and in
some cases water agencies use cleaner water to dilute trichloroethylene
contaminated ground water.
Several remedial settlements have been reached over trichloroethylene
contaminated ground water in San Bernardino, California -
Lockheed Martin; Lisle,
Illinois and DuPage County, Illinois - Lockformer Co.; Dayhoit, Kentucky
-National Electric Coil/Cooper Industries; Warren, Rhode Island - Jones
Apparel/Victoria Creations; Urbana, Ohio - Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.
and Nikko Materials USA
Indoor air in homes near contaminated sites
contain enough trichloroethylene to create an elevated cancer risk.
Trichloroethylene has been linked to liver,
pancreatic and kidney
cancers, birth defects and
just like radiation.
1,1-Dichloroethane C2H4Cl2 is a
It is a colorless oily liquid with a
It is not easily soluble in water, but miscible
with most 'organic solvents'.
Organic solvents are capable of dissolving
or dispersing one or more other substances.
"Organic solvents can be
reproductive hazards, and
organic solvents include benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and trichloroethylene.
Organic solvents recognized as reproductive hazards include
2-ethoxyethanol, 2-methoxyethanol, and methyl chloride.
solvents recognized as neurotoxins include n-hexane, tetrachloroethylene, and
Many classes of chemicals are used as organic solvents,
including aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, amines, esters,
ethers, ketones, and nitrated or chlorinated hydrocarbons.
solvents are used in many industries.
They are used in paints,
varnishes, lacquers, adhesives, glues, and in degreasing and cleaning agents,
and in the production of dyes, polymers, plastics, textiles, printing inks,
agricultural products, and pharmaceuticals.
Millions of US workers are
exposed to organic solvents.
The level of exposure depends upon the
dose, duration, and work being done." -
volumes of 1,1-dichloroethane are manufactured, with annual production
exceeding 1 million pounds in the United States.
Common use of
1,2-dichloroethane is in the production of
P-dichlorobenzene is a white colored liquid with the odor
of moth balls.
an carbon compound with
the formula C6H4Cl2.
It is a derivative
of benzene, consisting of two adjacent chlorine atoms.
It is used an
insecticide for termites and locust borers by the United States Forest Service
to combat bark beetle outbreaks.
Doucette finds 1,2-dichloroethane (DCA), a toxic chlorinated solvent, in
gingerbread man Christmas ornaments made in China at Hill Air Force Base, an
aircraft-maintenance facility north of Salt Lake City.
Each gram of
gingerbread man polymer contained 2.3
milligrams of 1,2-dichloroethane and the emission rate of the
toxic chlorinated solvent
fumes remains dangerously elevated for nearly a year.
contamination reported at US military bases:
1,2-dichloroethylene, 420000.0 ppb
1,2-dichlorobenzene 32000.0 ppb
1,2-dichlorobenzene 20000.0 ppb
1,2-dichlorobenzene 590000.0 ppb
1,2-dichloroethane 12000.0 ppb
1,2-dichloroethane 16000.0 ppb
1,2-dichloroethylene 11000.0 ppb;
Vinyl chloride 19000.0 ppb
1,2-dichlorobenzene 130000.0 ppb
1,1-dichloroethylene 23000000.0 ppb;
1,2-dichloroethane 1100000.0 ppb;
Barium and compounds 2590000.0 ppb;
Acenaphthene 11000000.0 ppb;
Butyl benzyl phthalate 11000000.0 ppb;
Polychlorinated biphenyls ...
1,1-dichloroethane 16000.0 ppb;
Phenol 26000.0 ppb;
Antimony and compounds 29700.0 ppb;
and compounds 41800.0 ppb;
Vinyl chloride 45000.0 ppb;
Zinc 132000.0 ppb;
Arsenic 180000.0 ppb;
Nickel and compounds
Methyl ethyl ketone 25000.0 ppb;
Trichloroethylene (TCE) 53000.0 ppb;
Acetone 77000.0 ppb;
Barium and compounds 216000.0 ppb;
Tustin USMC Air
1,1-dichloroethane 39000.0 ppb;
1,2-dichloroethylene 780000.0 ppb
Selenium 45500.0 ppb;
Cadmium and compounds 68590.0 ppb;
Methylene chloride 100000.0 ppb;
Chloroform 130000.0 ppb ...
1,2-dichlorobenzene 38000.0 ppb
1,1-Dichloroethane 63000.0 ppb;
1,2,4-trimethylbenzene 65000.0 ppb;
Antimony and compounds 73900.0 ppb;
Arsenic 104300.0 ppb;
and compounds ...
1,2-dichloroethylene 37000.0 ppb;
trichloroethylene (TCE) 23000.0 ppb;
vinyl chloride 68000 ppb
1,2-dichloroethylene 3000.0 ppb;
compounds 700.0 ppb;
(Diethylamino)Ethane 1100.0 ppb;
Silver and compounds 5500.0 ppb
Carbon Tetrachloride 7000.0 ppb;
8100.0 ppb ...
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buildings and in which each and every individual is encouraged to develop a
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