An expert panel convened by the EPA plans today to recommend a substantial reduction in the use of MTBE, an additive that makes gasoline burn more cleanly, because MTBE poses serious public health risks when it leaches into water supplies. The panel will recommend that Congress ease Clean Air Act language that mandates the widespread use of gasoline additives in smog-prone areas and that the federal government clean up water supplies that have been contaminated. Since its introduction in 1992, MTBE has been credited with significant air quality improvements, but people have become increasingly concerned about its health effects.

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