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Advertisement by Ethyl Corporation

Special Collections Reference Desk

Advertisement by Ethyl Corporation

Carol M. Browner, EPA Administrator
March 7, 1996

A number of newspapers today carried advertisements by the Ethyl Corporation touting its new fuel additive MMT.  The ad quotes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as saying that "the EPA concedes that it has no data showing MMT to be a (health) threat at low levels of exposure."  While it is true that EPA does not have data showing MMT to be a threat, that lack of data is exactly the problem.  EPA does not have data proving MMT is not a threat.

EPA initially denied Ethyl Corporation's request to sell MMT as a fuel additive because the company refused first to undertake health effects testing prior to putting their product into commerce.  The only reason MMT will now be available as a fuel additive is because the court rejected EPA's argument that the public health impacts of "fuel additives" should be fully evaluated prior to broad use.

EPA believes that the American public should not be used as a laboratory to test the safety of MMT.  EPA believes more testing should be done before cars across the country begin emitting into the air this additive -- which contains the heavy metal manganese.

Even though the courts have cleared the way for sale of MMT, EPA now is requiring health testing precisely because of these concerns, and will take appropriate steps to curb any health threats that new studies might reveal.  We hope at a minimum, in the meantime, that the petroleum industry will voluntarily label pumps that serve MMT so that consumers can make informed decisions when they fill up their cars.

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