Less than 40 Percent Americans Informed About MTBE, Survey Shows

Aug. 18, 2000

Only about 36 percent of Americans have heard of the contaminant methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), according to a consumer survey by Culligan International Co.

Of those who have heard about it, 46 percent are very concerned that MTBE may affect themselves or their family. Forty-three percent of all interviewees are very concerned about their home drinking water's lead levels.

The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corp. and questioned a sample of 1,000 Americans about their perceptions on their drinking water supply as well as their awareness of MTBE and lead.

"It's alarming that more than 60 percent of Americans are unaware of a major water quality issue such as MTBE," said Gary Hatch, chemical engineering manager and laboratory director at Plymouth Products, Inc., a subsidiary of USF Consumer & Commercial Group, Inc. "This illustrates that consumers are taking a passive role in ensuring the quality of their home drinking water. They're just assuming that their water is as pure as it can be."

MTBE is considered a potential carcinogen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From the survey, residents of the Western region showed most concern about MTBE, with 46 percent being familiar with it. Of those, 51 percent are concerned about the health-related effects of the contaminant. Residents of the Southern region are most concerned about lead, with 48 percent of interviewees saying they are very concerned about lead levels in their home drinking water.

(Source: PR Newswire)

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