More recently, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) has become a problem in ground-waters. The history of the use of this branched compound represents an interesting lesson
in the interrelatedness of environmental problems. For many years, lead was added to gasoline as an antiknocking or octane-enhancing compound. However, the realization that this lead was contributing to permanent neurological problems (including decreased intelligence), especially in urban children, led to its reduction and eventual elimination from gasoline in the United States as an environmental health measure (although it is still used in many other countries, with the same unfortunate effects).
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