English Discourse Site Menu:

The Detrimental Effects of MTBE on the Health of the American Public:
An Annotated Bibliography
Austin Welsh
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
©Read the copyright notice at the bottom of this page
before reproducing this essay/webpage on paper,
or electronically, or in any other form.

Davenport, A. C., T. J. Glynn, and H. Rhambarose. "Coast Guard Exposure to Gasoline, MTBE, and Benzene Vapors During Inspection or Tank Barges." AIHAJ 61.6 (2000): 865-73. Since the rise of methyl-tert butyl ether, many health effects have been exposed in port areas such as Pittsburgh, Pa., Huntington, W. Va. Baton Rouge, La., and Galveston, TX. This article examines the effects of MTBE on commercial tank barges. Field studies were conducted in an attempt to quantify short-term exposure levels to Coast Guard personnel performing routine inspections on commercial tank barges carrying gasoline. The results of personal samples indicate that a significant risk of acute exposure exists in the vicinity of valves, pressure lines, and connections. The cause of these effects has been linked to structural deficiencies on board the vessels. Furthermore, the results of the studies emphasize the safe practicing and proper maintenance in controlling exposure to MTBE. This article is directed towards an educated audience with a small understanding of the MTBE controversy. It is a useful resource that helps one to understand a specific field where MTBE is causing most concern.

Gallagher, Paul W., Hosein Shapouri, Jeffrey Price, Guenter Schamel, and Heather Brubaker. "Some Long-Run Effects of Growing Markets and Renewable Fuel Standards on Additives Markets and the U. S. Ethanol Industry." Journal of Policy Modeling 25.6 (2003): 585-608. This article analyzes the negative effects that MTBE has on the marketing industry. By switching the reformulated gasoline it would cause the economic cost to be offset by environment improvement. While the removal of MTBE may reduce cancer risk and global warming, the intangible environmental benefits do not outweigh the market costs. Reports show that ethanol may be an alternative source for improving profits. This would help the farming market, have a growing role in gasoline supplies, and potentially expand biofuels. This article provides excellent information and statistics on the effects of MTBE to the marketing industry. Even though, the audience is intended to be well educated individuals with a significant background in petroleum and marketing industry, it also provides significant statistics and resources that respond to the welfare cost of fuel to the consumer.

Lahvis, Matthew A., Arthur L. Baehr, and Ronald J. Baker. "Evaluation of Volatilization as a Natural Attenuation Pathway for MTBE." Groundwater 42.2 (2004): 258-68. This analysis provides information towards the effects of MTBE in groundwater. Furthermore, it is an evaluation of volatilization and diffusion through the unsaturated zone and its direct relationship to MTBE at gasoline spill sites. Significant volatilization of MTBE from ground water is down gradient from source areas. The major focus of this article is the quantity mass loss of MTBE due to volatilization and diffusion through the unsaturated zone at gasoline spill sites. This article provides many statistical tables that graphically display the effects of MTBE when gasoline spills at a field site. The prime audience of this article is intended for individuals with a background in ground water contamination. Information is professionally presented in graphs and charts that show results of contamination. This helps for the material to be easily comprehended.

McConnell, Rob and Robert Taber. "Acute Effects of Exposure to Methyl-Tert-Butyl Ether in Gasoline." Western Journal of Medicine 169.6 (1998): 375. Reforms have been made in order to reformulate gasoline. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made efforts to reduce the amounts of carbon monoxide and ozone being polluted. Since the evolution of methyl-tert-butyl ether in Alaska many acute health effects such as respiratory tract irritation, headache, dizziness, nausea and other non-specific symptoms have plagued the general population of the American pubic. Surveys and studies have been conducted to measure acute effects of MTBE when exposed to large amounts. Epidemiological studies have shown evidence that in general heavy exposures to MTBE have been well tolerated. While studies have tested high level exposure to MTBE, no examinations have been done to observe the potentially sensitive populations with underlying respiratory disease. The reader is provided with a brief summary of the occuring detrimental health effects that are a result of MTBE. It gives beginner researchers adequate information over the current topic.

Moyer, Ellen E. and Paul T. Kostecki, ed. MTBE Remidiation Handbook. Amherst: Amherst Scientific Publishers, 2003. The focus of this book is concentrated on the hundreds of thousands of spills of gasoline containing MTBE in the United States. It has been estimated that more then a billion dollars has been spent each year to clean up spills of gasoline and manage the risk from existing contamination. Further the appropriate regulations are to be determined by each state in order to manage these spills on a site-by-site basis. Controversy has created myths between benzene and MTBE. Many believe that benzene is biodegradable in ground water while MTBE is not, and also it has been the controversy that risk management is appropriate for benzene and not appropriate for MTBE. This has made many reluctant in dealing with existing MTBE contamination. This handbook proposes many alternatives in resolving the MTBE crisis. Moreover it provides technological advancements in clean up for MTBE in a rational and economic manner. This book is a helpful resource for one that is educated and with little knowledge on the subject. It provides one with adequate information that is easily comprehended in tables, diagrams, and text.

Nadim, Farhad, Peter Zack, George E. Hoagi, and Shili Liu. "United States Experience with Gasoline Additives." Energy Policy 29.1 (2001): 1-5. The use of ethanol instead of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) would have a profound impact on petroleum-dependent industries such as agriculture. According to reports made by New York City based ratings firm Fitch IBCA, Duff and Phelps, predicted that the agricultural processing industries would be transformed by the substitution of corn-derived ethanol for MTBE. While the impact of ethanol as an oxygenate would be positive for agricultural industries, many chemical producers would experience a primarily negative impact. In order for ethanol to be used to meet blending requirements its capacity would have to be drastically increased, otherwise ethanol imports would devastate the benefits of increased U.S. ethanol demand. While there is an efficient amount of ethanol in the United States it would demand other industries to change out their equipment which may not be an affordable solution to the refining and marketing sector. Useful information is provided to a researcher with an adequate background on the subject. It contains many details and statistics that can be useful for arguing a claim.

Rock, Kerry L., Robert O. Dunn, and Donald J. Makovec. Automotive Fuels for an Improved Environment: How Does MTBE Contribute? Washington, D. C.: National Petroleum Refiners Association, 1991. Due to environmental pressures during the 1980s the consumption of gasoline in the United States has drastically changed. This book demonstrates the importance of oxygenates, such as MTBE, to further reduce cost of gasoline in the future. Oxygenates are required for the reduction of the negative effects of automotive exhaust on the environment. A market projection was conducted to show that large quantities of MTBE might be required in this decade. Economics for the production of MTBE has shown that it will be an attractive investment for those with access to inexpensive natural gas and field butanes. This book is intended for one that is educated on petroleum and refineries. While it provides information that may not be easily comprehended without previous knowledge on the subject, it utilizes informative graphs, tables, and diagrams that provide useful statistics. This helps demonstrate the positive benefits for having MTBE.

Speelman, Joseph F. "the MTBE Controversy: Defending Mass Tort Claims." Defense Counsel Journal 69.1 (2002): 35-50. This article examines the emerging trend of mass tort lawsuit abuse in the United States and efforts to export it to global legal systems. Also, it surveys the media publicity, political influence, and unreliable science of the MTBE controversy. This ongoing controversy regarding the gasoline additive, MTBE, is one of the most recent speculative products of the American legal industry. Further this article makes an attempt to protect the general public from governmental oversight of the U.S. judicial process. Many claims have spawned class actions and mass tort cases involving every state where MTBE was used. This article does a great job analyzing the current debatable situation on MTBE. It provides helpful insight directed to an audience with a small background on the current topic. Moreover it is informative and thorough enough to further educate one on this topic.

United States. Environmental Protection Ageency. Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE). 17 Sept. 2003. 10 Oct. 2004 <http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/.html>. MTBE has been proved to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles, but also it has caused concerned health risks. The web site has been devised to cover specific topics relating to the history, effects, testing, and maintenance of MTBE. It has been used in the United States to lower levels of gasoline since 1979. Replacing lead as an octane enhancer, it is used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to accommodate the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Although, it eliminates lead as an additive and reduces exhaust emissions it causes health concerns in the contamination of ground water. The information presented can be easily comprehended and much detail is given to the reader on the background of MTBE. One does not have to be educated in the subject because the information is very descriptive and thorough. The information is useful in helping one understand how MTBE has evolved.

Vainiotalo, Sinikka and Anne Rounakangas. "Tank Truck Driver Exposure to Vapors From Oxygenated or Reformulated Gasolines During Loading and Unloading." American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 60.4 (1999): 518-26. Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a current issue that has been receiving controversy in the gasoline industry. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA 1990) has made efforts to address air-pollution by reformulating gasoline. This included two types of fuel: reformulated gasoline and oxyfuels. Reformulated gasoline has been mandated in areas where there are issues with the ozone. It was chosen because of its ease of production and distribution. Gasoline with the added MTBE has helped to decrease summer photochemical smog in air basins. Also it has helped decrease air toxins such as benzene. Even though there has been positive effects of MTBE there has been concentrations appearing in the water and atmosphere that seem to be hazardous to health. This article is very useful to researchers that want to expand their knowledge on the controversial MTBE claim. It gives a brief insight on current issues that are relevant in the gasoline industry.

Search English Discourse
WWW English Discourse

Copyright notice: this page will hereafter be referred to as the essay/webpage. All rights to the essay/webpage are held by its author. You may hyperlink to the essay/webpage electronically and without notifying either English Discourse—the e-journal or the author of the essay/webpage, but hyperlinks are allowed only for non-commercial and educational use. The essay/webpage may not otherwise be reproduced in hard-copy, electronically, or any other form, unless the written permission of its author is obtained prior to such reproductions. If you do link to the essay/webpage, part of the text in the hyperlink must contain the words "English Discourse—the e-journal".

You may quote from the essay/webpage, but only if the author and English Discourse—the e-journal are unmistakably cited in parenthetical citations and works cited page, endnotes, footnotes, bibliography page, or references page citations.

You may not otherwise copy or transmit the contents of the essay/webpage either electronically or in hard copies. You may not alter the content of the essay/webpage in any manner. If you are interested in using the contents of the essay/webpage in any manner except as described above, please contact "webmaster" at "englishdiscourse.org" for information on publishing rights, and the editor will arrange contact between your organization and the author of the essay/webpage. English Discourse—the e-journal, suggests that such emails should include a subject heading that reads "editorial contact," or "publishing rights." English Discourse—the e-journal will not act as an agent or accept any fees. The essay/webpage is the intellectual property of its author, who retains sole rights. The author has merely granted permission for English Discourse—the e-journal to publish the essay/webpage.