|"Some of our leading neurotoxic scientists, as well as studies and documents from medical schools and universities, in addition to other institutions, outline in detail the truly horrific effects that allowing the continued use of this neurotoxin could have on the Canadian people." — Jean Chretien|
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 10:12:05 -0800 |
From: Marketing Fuel Tech Service, FUELTEK@chevrontexaco.com
Subject: FW: MMT-free gasoline
Thank you for your inquiry. It has been forwarded to us here at Chevron Fuels Technical Service.
At this time, Chevron Canada Limited does use the additive MMT as a blending component in the Supreme gasoline grades (AKI 92 & 94). We do not presently use MMT in our Regular (AKI 87) or Plus (AKI 89) grade in Canada.
We did not use any MMT in Canada between 1995 & 1998 pending the outcome of the Canadian Federal Government's attempts to ban its use. In 1998 the Canadian Federal Government approved the continued use of MMT in gasolines sold in Canada (based on available scientific evidence). Chevron Canada Limited began blending with MMT as stated above. Although Auto manufacturers have stated their concerns very emphatically about the possible harmful effects of using MMT, there is no statistical evidence to support their claims — i.e. so far there is no difference in the life of catalysts, oxygen sensors, or spark plugs between US based vehicles (no MMT used) and Canadian based ones (MMT in use for many years).
At this time, Chevron does not add nor do we plan in the future to add MMT to our gasoline in the United States. Most other majors do not use it either. It is a antiknock compound that contains manganese and raises the antiknock quality of gasoline. It is in use in Canada. Very limited use in USA and in some after market octane booster products. Auto manufactures have expressed concerns about its use shortening catalyst, oxygen sensor, and spark plug life.
Chevron Fuels Technical Service
Airborne manganese concentrations tend to be higher near certain types of industry (e.g. steel) and busy roads, possibly due to the re-suspension of road dusts by vehicles or the combustion products of the gasoline additive MMT (methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl) in tailpipe emissions. Spending more time in a vehicle is associated with higher exposures. [...]|
Although manganese is essential at very low doses, it is toxic at high doses. Prolonged exposure to very high levels of manganese can lead to a rare neurological syndrome called manganism, which is similar to Parkinson's Disease. Most cases of manganism involve people exposed in the workplace to very high levels in air (generally over 2 million nanograms1 per cubic metre of air or ng/m3 ), such as miners, or are due to accidental poisoning. Some people are affected after just a few months of high exposure to manganese while others may be exposed for years before showing signs of manganese poisoning.
Symptoms of manganese poisoning include irritability, memory deficits, anorexia and apathy, followed by clumsiness, muscle tremors and gait disturbances, among other things. While some symptoms of manganese poisoning can be treated, others may be permanent.
Studies have been done on workers exposed over long periods of time to moderately high concentrations of manganese in air (about 100,000 to 300,000 ng/m3 for 5 to 17 years). These workers did not develop manganism, but they performed less well than unexposed workers on neurological tests, such as hand-eye coordination and hand-steadiness. Moreover, a recent Canadian study on the effects of manganese in the general population found that people with higher blood manganese levels performed worse in certain tests of motor function and learning/recall. These milder signs of impairment are consistent with the more severe clinical symptoms of manganism and with the type of damage to the central nervous system that is known to result from high manganese exposure.
Excessive manganese can also damage the respiratory system and the male reproductive system.
Health Canada: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ehp/ehd/catalogue/general/iyh/manganese.htm
There is evidence from both human studies and animal experiments that manganese may exert a differential toxic effect on infants and children. Human studies show that hyperactive children and children with learning disabilities may have higher hair levels of manganese than normal children. This suggests that manganese may act as a neurodevelopmental toxicant on young children. Animal studies show that newborn animals are unable to maintain homeostasis of manganese and that as a result manganese accumulates in the brains of animals exposed at young ages. There is also evidence that manganese exposure to young animals can cause neurodegenerative changes such as neuronal degeneration and cortical thinning.
California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) www.oehha.ca.gov/air/toxic_contaminants/pdf_zip/Mn-finaldoc.pdf (references removed).
After this age [four months] there was a slow decline in hair Mn to 0.268 µg/g in normal children at age 8 years and 0.434 in learning disabled (hyperactive) children. This is the 3rd study reporting elevated hair manganese in learning disabled children.
Townsend Letter: www.tldp.com/issue/180/Clinical%20Effects%20of%20Mn.html
MMT fuel additive is likely to contribute to a small but significant increase in manganese concentrations in the environment. The health implications of this increase in ambient manganese are not yet certain. However, there are indications that some highly exposed or susceptible subpopulations might be at increased risk for neurological, respiratory, and reproductive toxicity from low level manganese exposure. Such at-risk populations include infants, the elderly, those with iron deficiency, people with Parkinson's disease, and workers exposed to gasoline or exhaust fumes.|
While many petroleum refiners currently claim that they are voluntarily withholding MMT from their gasoline, there is still reason for concern and a need for more decisive action. The ready availability of alternative octane enhancers makes the case for adding MMT to gasoline almost exclusively a cost-savings argument. Minor cost-savings should not take precedence over potentially severe damage to human health.
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: www.igc.org/psr/mmt.html
It is not unreasonable to argue that the exposure of the American population to MMT and manganese could constitute a potentially grave threat to our national security. The United States cannot afford a repeat of the tetraethyl lead tragedy.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine 39:434-435, Apr. 2001. www.osha-slc.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_252900.html
Running on MMT|
MMT is a fuel additive, which is mixed with petrol in order to prevent engine knocking. Many scientists believe it is also a dangerous neurotoxin. Manganese entering the body through the lungs causes nerve damage which can lead to psychosis, memory loss, and early death.
Until last year, Canada was the only country on earth in which MMT was bought and sold. It is legal to sell it in most parts of the United States, but surveys suggest that no suppliers there will stock it, not least because it also appears to damage car engines, causing them to release other pollutants. Canadian MPs began to question why their citizens were exposed to this peculiarly unpleasant species of pollution. After a long and intelligent debate, parliament voted to ban it in April 1997.
Had the vote taken place three years earlier, the Ethyl Corporation would have had to abide by the decision. A sovereign parliament had decided to protect its citizens from a deadly poison, and that, you would imagine, would have been the end of the matter.
But, since 1994, corporations in Canada, the United States and Mexico have enjoyed a new and astonishing power over elected authorities. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entitles companies to sue governments which, they believe, raise unfair barriers to trade.
Ethyl sued the Canadian government for the "expropriation" of its "property" (namely its anticipated profits) and the "damage" to its "good reputation" caused by the parliamentary debate. It took its suit to NAFTA, where a secret tribunal whose records are not disclosed and whose decisions cannot be appealed, began to assess the case. Last month, the Canadian government, realising that its chances of success were approximately zero, settled with Ethyl. It agreed to allow the corporation to resume its sales of MMT in Canada. It agreed to pay Ethyl US$13 million, by way of compensation. It agreed, too, to lie to its citizens. Upon settling the suit, it announced that "MMT poses no health risk." So what has any of this got to do with us? Well, the NAFTA rules that allowed the Ethyl Corporation to sue the Canadian government are almost identical to the provisions of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment which, if passed, will allow corporations to sue the governments, such as Britain's, which sign it.
Excerpt from George Monbiot, Guardian 13-Aug-1998: www.monbiot.com/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=157
How Canada became a shill for Ethyl Corp.
Ken Traynor, CELA Researcher, International Programme
In early April, 1997 the Liberal government of Jean Chretien, for one of the few times since its election in 1993, acted to "err", as the government put it, on the side of human health and the environment. Invoking its trade powers, Parliament passed a law restricting the import and interprovincial transport of the neuro-toxic MMT (methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl), a gasoline additive that contains the heavy metal, manganese.
Within days, the US multinational Ethyl Corp., the sole supplier of MMT in Canada, invoked the "expropriation" clause (article 1110) of the investment chapter of NAFTA to sue the government for $350 million Canadian for damages and lost income. With the NAFTA agreement working exactly as it was designed to, the pressure of significant potential public liability mounted on the federal government and on July 20th, 1998 it backed down, settling out of court before the NAFTA arbitral panel could rule.
In a final cruel irony the $13 million US ($19.5 million Canadian) compensation payment to Ethyl for lost profits and legal costs exceeds the total 1998 Environment Canada budget for enforcement and compliance programmes ($16.9 million Canadian). The government will also issue a statement to the effect that the manganese-based additive is neither an environmental nor a health risk which, of course, Ethyl will use to market MMT internationally.
With all we know about lead, manganese and other heavy metal poisoning why are we running one more collective experiment on our kids when safer alternatives to MMT exist and are widely used in the US? How did we end up in this sorry situation? The answer to that question is a long and involved, but ultimately very instructive, little Canadian vignette.
This story has two basic themes. On the one hand we have to go back to the 1920s and trace the role of Ethyl Corp. in bringing us first lead anti-knock gasoline additives and then MMT. On the other hand we need to go back to November 1993, when the Chretien government-to-be worked so hard to make sure NAFTA came to Canada.
In 1923, lead was introduced into gasoline by the Ethyl Corporation in a joint venture with General Motors, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and DuPont. The toxicity of lead had been well established for 100 years, but GM wanted to put lead in gas in order to compete with the Ford Motor Company. GM had developed a more powerful gasoline engine than Ford, but the engine tended to "knock" because of its higher compression. Lead stopped the knocking. Ethanol, made from agricultural crops, could have done the job. But ethanol occupies up to 10 percent of the gas tank and the oil companies were not about to give away that share of their market to US farmers. Instead they chose to put a few drops of lead into each gallon of gas.1
On May 20, 1925, the U.S. Public Health Service convened a conference to examine the potential public health dangers posed by leaded gasoline — more than was done when MMT was introduced into Canada in the 1970s for use in unleaded fuels. At the conference, a parade of research scientists and public health officials testified that lead is a very unhealthy substance:
The debate continues to this day.
By 1940 most gasoline sold had lead in it. Thirty-five years later the EPA reduced the allowable level of lead in gasoline because it interfered with the efficient workings of catalytic converters. Finally, in the 1980s, the overwhelming evidence of lead-associated damage in children's nervous systems led to the phasing out of lead in gasoline, first in the US and later in Canada. Ethyl fought every step of the way.
Between 1926 and 1985, when the U.S. Congress phased out most leaded gasoline use, seven million metric tons of lead dust (15.4 billion pounds) blew out of automobile exhausts and into the environment. In third world nations the massive lead contamination continues.3
Lead levels along roads in Nigeria are reaching 7000 parts per million, about 15 times greater than the level required to be designated a toxic Superfund [highly polluted] site in the U.S. In Mexico City half the children tested have dangerous levels of lead.4
What is wrong with a society which says, the evidence is overwhelming, we won't subject our kids to this form of legalized poisoning any longer, and then lets Ethyl and other corporations go on poisoning kids around the world? When lead was banned in US gasoline, Ethyl continued to sell its product overseas and turned to MMT to replace its lost lead revenues. As recently as 1997, Ethyl's lead anti-knock products were 14% of sales and 43% of operating profits. In 1996, they generated 59% of operating profits and in 1995 their profit in lead was 74%.5
And now they want us to repeat the same sad saga but with MMT, which contains another heavy metal, manganese, a proven neuro-toxin.
If MMT were a new product which had not been sold in the US, Ethyl Corp. would have to prove it was safe. Because it has been around for a while, even though significant long-term health studies have not been done, the onus is on its critics to prove it is harmful. The only major difference from the 1920s is that the auto giants are no longer in lock-step with the oil companies' interests. Taking a page from an Environmental Defense Fund campaign, GM Canada has written to all the major oil refiners in Canada asking them to voluntarily refrain from using MMT. A number of them already sell MMT-free gas in some markets. They are also actively trying to drum up support for this campaign from NGOs across Canada.
The oil industry on the other hand, who, together with the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Quebec challenged the legislation under the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade, is unwavering in the defence of its bottom-line. Alain Perez of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute puts it this way, "Our first priority is getting rid of federal legislation that uses its jurisdiction over interprovincial trade to get at the formulation of auto fuels."
Global warming is heating up political debates. Air pollution is taking lives (some 1400 in Ontario according to the Ontario Medical Association) and that's forcing a serious look at why sulphur levels in Canadian gasoline are so much higher than in the US. The oil companies have a lot to lose if public health becomes an important issue for governments.
Most of the industrialized world does not use MMT as an octane-enhancer in gasoline. It is banned in many of the most smog-prone areas of the United States, including California and much of the Eastern Seaboard. Eighty-five percent of US oil refiners have confirmed that they are not currently using MMT. Alternatives exist and they are not that expensive. If the petroleum companies replaced MMT with other additives, it would cost drivers only about $5 annually (for those who drive 16,000 kilometers a year, or so). That cost can be compared to the cost of replacing spark plugs yearly, or replacing an oxygen sensor for something in the neighbourhood of $250, if the auto company claims of significant impairment of on-board diagnostics are true.6
And we'd get better air as a bonus.
It seems a no-brainer, but the post-NAFTA world is not that straight forward. Which brings us back to Jean Chretien and NAFTA. If NAFTA did not exist, MMT would still be banned in Canada. Ethyl would have had to convince the US government to go to bat for it with the Canadian government, or sue Canada in a Canadian court. In a Canadian court, a judge can balance corporate property rights with the public interest, something glaringly absent from the deliberations of NAFTA arbitration panels.
For all intents and purposes, NAFTA gives corporate interests a form of veto power over national public policy. Not surprisingly, Ethyl used it. As Dalton Camp wrote in the Toronto Star on July 29th 1998 this "is a bizarre episode in Canada's own history — a government bill approved by the Parliament of Canada has been vetoed by Ethyl Corp. of Virginia."
It did not have to be this way. In late November 1993, Jean Chretien and his Liberal Party ran against the Mulroney legacy and won hands down. In that election campaign they pledged in their famous "Red Book" that if the Labour and Environmental Side Agreements did not protect Canadian interests, the new cabinet would not pass the required order-in-council necessary to implement NAFTA in Canada. This was important because NAFTA was still before the US Congress and drafts of Clinton's implementing legislation contained language that might force Chretien to actually carry through on his election promise.
In an unprecedented move, before he was even officially sworn in as Prime Minister, Chretien sent his primary fixer, Eddie Goldenberg, to Washington to implore the Clinton administration to tone down the implementing legislation. Working out of a hotel room (because, officially the Liberal Party operative could not use the Canadian embassy), Goldenberg was successful at getting the most objectionable aspects of the legislation changed. The rest, as they say, is history.
1 Morris, David - The Ethyl Corporation: Back to the Future — Institute for Local Self Reliance, September 9, 1997
2 Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly #541
3 Rachel's, ibid
4 Morris ibid
5 Ethyl Corp. 1998 10-K Report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission
6 "It's worthwhile questioning motives on the need for MMT", The Montreal Gazette, February 21, 1997
Canadian Environmental Law Association Intervenor: www.cela.ca/Intervenor/23_3/23_3ethyl.htm
You can thank free trade agreement for MMT travesty|
Toronto Star, July 29, 1998
In September, 1996, Canada's Minister of the Environment, Sergio Marchi, spoke on third reading of Bill C-29, otherwise known as the Manganese-Based Fuel Additive Act. The bill would prohibit the use of the additive MMT in gasoline produced in Canadian refineries. The minister said the additive was a hazard to the public health and to the environment. In addition, the minister pointed out, automobile manufacturers believed the substance "damaged emissions control equipment" installed in their cars and trucks in order to monitor fuel performance, producing a reduction in harmful tail-pipe pollutants.
Parliament approved Bill C-29. It was a lot like motherhood: MMT, a product of the Ethyl Corp. of Virginia, had been banned in Europe and in California. Almost every major U.S. petroleum producer, the minister said, had indicated support for the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to forbid MMT being marketed as a gasoline additive. One-third of the American market uses a reformulated gasoline, refined for areas with acute air pollution problems. The use of MMT as an additive is prohibited in these areas.
Early in 1991, the present Prime Minister, then Leader of the Opposition, was urging the Mulroney government to ban the use of MMT, which he called "an insidious neurotoxin."
In a letter to a Tory government minister, Jean Chretien wrote: "Some of our leading neurotoxic scientists, as well as studies and documents from medical schools and universities, in addition to other institutions, outline in detail the truly horrific effects that allowing the continued use of this neurotoxin could have on the Canadian people." Five years later, the Chretien government would introduce, and Parliament would pass, Bill C-29, banning the transportation or importation of MMT.
Ethyl Corp. then launched a $347 million lawsuit against the government of Canada. The government served notice it would contest the suit. It didn't. Last week it settled "out of court," so to speak, killing its own bill, paying Ethyl Corp. nearly $20 million and providing a written letter of apology. In return, Ethyl dropped its suit.
This is called free trade.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, in Chapter 11, allows private corporations to sue sovereign member nations. In this example, it allowed Ethyl to sue the government of Canada. Such suits are not brought before Canadian courts but before a panel of three members, one of whom is appointed by Canada, another by the United States and a third chosen by mutual agreement. In the event Canada would fail to appoint its member, the World Bank would do so; the bank would also appoint the third member of the panel should the two countries involved not agree on a nominee.
The decision of the panel cannot be appealed and all its procedures and arguments are conducted privately. Some believe Canada settled with Ethyl last week because it did not think it could win its case before a NAFTA panel.
A California company in the waste disposal business recently acquired a site for a toxic waste dump in one of the states in Mexico, another of our NAFTA partners. The local citizens demonstrated against the corporation, forcing it to shut the site down. The corporation has brought a $97 million Chapter 11 suit against the government of Mexico. Guess who'll win?
So that we understand this bizarre episode in our own history: A government bill approved by the Parliament of Canada has been vetoed by Ethyl Corp. of Virginia. This is the substance of the matter. What is not of substance is whether MMT poisons the air, destroys catalytic converters, is harmful to children, older people, and those suffering from respiratory ailments, or frightens the horses — or whether it doesn't. The Canadian government and Parliament, whether certain, uncertain, or indifferent, has the sovereign power to pass whatever laws it wishes. At least, that had been the case.
When we come to think of it, the Canadian Parliament also voted in favour of NAFTA. In doing so, it cut off its own head. Which brings to mind John Crosbie, the then minister who sponsored the free trade agreement before Parliament and who admitted he hadn't read it all. It was a laugh; honourable members hadn't read it either. So, what the hell, free trade promised cheaper imports, more exports, a stronger dollar, and 500,000 new jobs. And in the long run, it may prove to be a good thing for Canadians. Still, something has surely been lost. We are not as free as we used to be. Ask Ethyl.
We must now remind ourselves to read the fine print in the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment, after it emerges from the shadows where it fled after its brief appearance last year. MAI would allow private corporations to sue any government of the 29 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada included, for real or imagined injury to their businesses caused by any law, past, present or future.
My morning paper — the national edition — has celebrated Ethyl's win over Canada's Parliament. It advised those ambitious Tories running for the leadership to climb on the bandwagon while there's still room. It would not be my advice. I suggest the Tories review the Ethyl travesty, bone up on the MAI, and remember their honoured past. Chances of the party doing so are, I fear, slight — about as likely as Ethyl suing the state of California.
Dalton Camp is a political commentator and broadcaster.
Economic Justice Now: www.economicjustice.org/resources/media/EthylCorp.html
What causes it?|
Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by a number of different bacteria; one of them is the Group A streptococcus. Many people may carry these bacteria in the nose, throat, or on their skin, without getting sick, but these bacteria can also cause sore or strep throat, scarlet fever, skin infections, and rheumatic fever. Researchers do not fully understand why Group A streptococcus bacteria, on rare occasions, cause necrotizing fasciitis. It is known that these bacteria make poisons that destroy body tissue directly, as well as causing the body's immune system to destroy its own tissue while fighting the bacteria.
British Columbia Ministry of Health: www.hlth.gov.bc.ca/hlthfile/hfile60.html
What is group A streptococcus (GAS)?|
Group A streptococcus is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most GAS infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other severe and even life-threatening diseases.
Center for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm#Why%20does%20invasive%20group%20A
In 1980, to their horror, Europeans discovered that 2 and 3 year old children were reaching puberty. They traced the problem to growth hormones used to promote weight gain in cattle. Consumers in West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium persuaded their governments to ban hormone additives. In 1988 the European Union imposed a Europe-wide ban on European producers. In 1989 the ban was extended to importers.|
In 1998 the WTO ruled that Europe had no right to impose such rules on imported beef. Under the new trade rules, countries were no longer allowed to implement health and safety standards that err on the side of caution, even when in response to impressive citizen demand.
The New Rules Project: www.newrules.org/resources/freetrade.html
Thalidomide became available in "sample tablet form" in Canada in late 1959. It was licensed for prescription use on April 1, 1961. Although Thalidomide was withdrawn from the West German and United Kingdom markets by December 2, 1961, it remained legally available in Canada until March 2, 1962, a full three months later. Incredibly Thalidomide was still available in some Canadian pharmacies until mid-May 1962.
Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada: www.thalidomide.ca/wit.html
However much we all like heroic tales and medals, there is actually very little in the record to bear out the official heroic version of the thalidomide story. Upon careful examination it appears that no reproductive tests were done at all on thalidomide before 1961, nor indeed did the FDA ask for any. [...] We now know that it would have taken a much more exhaustive set of animal tests to catch thalidomide than was routinely used anywhere in 1961. An honest reading of the facts thus forces the conclusion that (questions of luck aside) Dr. Kelsey's medal was awarded basically for being a delay-causing bureaucrat and thereby allowing Europeans to serve as first-class "guinea pigs" for Americans [...].
College Libertarians of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: w3.ag.uiuc.edu:8001/Liberty/Tales/Thalidomide.Html
In December, 1980, the wife of a member of the Canadian
Parliament and four other Canadians sued the U.S. government for
five million dollars in U.S. District Court charging that a
Montreal psychiatrist conducted CIA-financed brainwashing
experiments on them between 1957 and 1963. During this time they
were given LSD and massive electroshock treatments to wipe out
past behavior patterns.
Mind Control Forum: www.visitations.com/mindnet/MN143A.HTM
Early in this century, a method for bleaching flour with nitrogen trichloride gas was developed. In this process, the flour became whiter and the baked loaves were puffier and more uniform in shape. "The whiter the flour, the better it sells" was the slogan of the day, and soon an estimated 80% of all flour in Canada was bleached in this manner.|
There was, however, an unanticipated side-effect: Dogs fed biscuits made from the treated flour often had severe reactions, including behavioral abnormalities, seizure, and even death. Closer investigation by British and American scientists revealed that the flour bleaching process produced a chemical by-product called methionine sulfoximine (MSO). Concern for human health was so great that by 1950 this bleaching process had been banned in Great Britain and the United States.
Amazingly, though, the Canadian government did not follow suit. Fortunately for the health of Canadians, the milling industry, following the lead of the British, voluntarily ceased using nitrogen trichloride to bleach flour by 1949/1950. The only regulatory action taken by Health Canada was to issue in 1967 an advisory to delist previously allowable nitrogen additives whose chemistry was similar to nitrogen trichloride.
It remains uncertain if the Canadian government ever appreciated the potential hazard posed by the toxin MSO in the treated flour. MSO has since been shown to be an extremely potent neurotoxin, and there is a suggestion that the consumption of MSO-containing flour may have increased the incidence of several major neurological diseases. This is extremely difficult to prove, however, not because of a lack of evidence of MSO toxicity in controlled laboratory conditions, which is available in abundance, but rather because of the difficulty once again of establishing causality in human populations where many other variables can complicate the situation, particularly after years of exposure.
CCPA Monitor, Nov 1998: www.mps.k12.nf.ca/cfc/old/mmt.html
As we move forward, there is a possibility automakers might have to detune U.S. emissions systems simply to permit satisfactory vehicle operation on inferior Canadian gasolines. For example, additives such as MMT or higher sulphur Canadian gasoline could force the suppression of trigger points on second generation on board diagnostics (OBD-II) systems. MMT has been shown to cause malfunction indicator lights to illuminate due to spark plug misfires and has been linked to premature oxygen sensor and catalyst failures. Sulphur concentrations in Canadian "pump grade" gasolines could be high enough to suppress operation of the vehicle's catalytic converter, to the point that the tailpipe emissions would be high enough to otherwise trigger a dashboard warning light.
General Motors Canada: www.gmcanada.com/inm/gmcanada/english/about/Commitments/commitments_envi_reduce_fuels.html
WEAR AND TEAR: The two spark plugs show coloration differences between spark plugs from one car using MMT-containing gasoline (left) in Canada and another car not using MMT-containing gasoline in the United States, according to the Ford Motor Co.
The Scientist: www.the-scientist.com/yr1998/nov/research_981123.html
In such a clash of experts and studies, it is useful to ask which party stands to gain or lose in the dispute. Obviously, the automobile manufacturers have no reason to be concerned about MMT unless it does, as they say, compromise the efficacy of the on-board diagnostic systems, including the pollution control devices. On the other hand, Ethyl's interest in promoting contrary studies is obvious.
Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club of Canada, Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources: www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/enrg-e/08ev-e.htm
Analysis of the data showed that one of the strongest predictors of manganese exposures in Toronto is the amount of time spent travelling by subway. The manganese levels in the subway were approximately 50 times higher than the levels found outdoors. Manganese in subways results from the grinding of the steel rails and brakes. Steel contains high manganese levels and the subway levels are not related to MMT.
Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources: www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/enrg-e/08ev-e.htm
While that suggests manganese in air at subway stations may pose a greater health threat than manganese in ambient outside air, Mergler says the finding raises questions. "Where does the manganese come from? We simply do not know," she says. It could come from air intakes, making the subways a kind of manganese sink.
The Scientist: www.the-scientist.com/yr1998/nov/research_981123.html
In 1925, despite protests from the public health community, Ethyl began selling lead additives for gas, with devastating results for the nation's health. Now, 70 years later, Ethyl is again disregarding health concerns and selling MMT without first obtaining adequate toxicity information.|
I have not read all the evidence, but in 1925 you said the same thing, that lead was perfectly safe, and we know how bad it was. It is still in our land and our communities.
I have strong reservations about this. The biggest consumers in the world of your product are telling you that they want a different product. Imagine a restaurateur, for instance, saying, "Yes, there is pepper in your soup. Eat it." That is what you are doing. You are saying, "There is MMT in your gasoline. You may not like it, but you must take it." I cannot believe this is taking place in our society today. I cannot believe that you cannot come up with something different. It is incomprehensible to me that this is taking place and that this committee is even listening to this.
Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources: www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/enrg-e/08ev-e.htm
|Resolution on MMT in the
U.S. Gasoline Supply
methylcyclopentadienyl manganese carbonyl (MMT) is an organic manganese compound
formulated for use as a gasoline octane enhancer by the Ethyl Corporation, and marketed as HiTec 3000; and
widespread use of MMT in the U.S. gasoline supply might result in measurable increases in
population exposure to manganese; and
Whereas manganese is
recognized as a nervous system toxin at high levels of exposure, is also a pulmonary
toxin, and may also be a reproductive and developmental toxin; and
Whereas no available
health data indicate that the widespread use of MMT as proposed is safe; and
widespread commercialization of MMT, without clear evidence of its safety, would represent
a population-wide toxicologic experiment, performed without the informed consent of those
who would be exposed, in violation of accepted norms of medical ethics; and
that may be at special risk of manganese toxicity from MMT use, and for which more data
are especially necessary, include fetuses and children, the elderly, workers such as
gasoline station attendants and mechanics with unusually high exposure, and persons with
neurologic and respiratory disease; and
Whereas the United
States Environmental Protection Agency was recently compelled by a Federal Appeals Court
decision to permit the addition of MMT to the U.S. gasoline supply, despite its finding
that available data preclude adequate assessment of MMT's risks;
Be it therefore resolved that Physicians
for Social Responsibility deplores the use of MMT in the U.S. gasoline supply without
clear evidence of safety; and
urges the U.S. Congress and applicable
state agencies to ban the addition of MMT into gasoline until its safety is clearly
urges all refiners and sellers of gasoline
to refrain from adding MMT to their products until its safety is clearly documented;
urges all refiners and sellers of gasoline
to announce publicly their policies regarding the use of MMT;
urges all refiners and sellers of gasoline
to label their product, at the point of retail sale, with regard to MMT content, so
consumers will know whether they are purchasing gasoline with MMT added;
urges applicable government authorities to
take steps to monitor the use of MMT by gasoline refiners and sellers in their
jurisdictions, and to make this information available to the public;
urges further research into the health
effects of manganese exposure, emphasizing the effects on vulnerable populations, with
financial support from Ethyl Corporation but carried out completely independently of that
urges that health care providers and members of the public be fully informed about the potential health effects of MMT use.
Sierra Club of Canada News Release
Sierra Club of Canada www.sierraclub.ca/national/media/item.shtml?x=774