Oct 8, 2015 0 Comments in Uncategorized by

In 1987, a law firm in Washington called me requesting that I conduct research on the neurotoxicity of various gasoline additives. They preferred that I conduct my research without knowing the source of funding. I agreed, and determined that methyl tetrabutyl ether (MTBE), proposed as a gasoline additive, would have serious toxic consequences. My staff and I generated a report entitled The Toxicity of Gasoline Additives, which was later circulated among U.S. Congress and staff as they considered which oxygenates to mandate to be added to gasoline. Unfortunately, Washington permitted the use of MTBE, which has since been deemed too toxic for continued use.

Twenty-eight years later, on October 2, 2015, New Hampshire’s highest court upheld a record $236 million judgment Friday against Exxon Mobil for its use of a gasoline additive MTBE that contaminated groundwater in the state. A jury reached the verdict in April 2013 after finding the company liable in a long-running lawsuit over contamination by the chemical MTBE. Lasting nearly four months, the trial was the longest and resulted in the largest jury award in New Hampshire history. The additive has been banned in a number of states, including in New Hampshire since 2007.

The United States Congress is often shortsighted in their decisions about toxic chemicals. Before deciding which products will be permitted for consumer use, Congress needs to consider the long-term toxic consequences of their decisions, in contrast to the short-term benefits.

Reference: http://onlineathens.com/national-news/2015-10-02/court-upholds-236m-verdict-exxon-mobil-pollution-case

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