NOVATO CA -- January 11, 2002 -- The owner of Redwood Homes, a mobile home park in Novato, California, was recently sued for failure to disclose the presence of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in the park's private well water. According to county tests, the well contains 92 parts per billion of MTBE, more than seven times he acceptable level for drinking water. Although the well has been shut down, health problems from the effects of MTBE linger.
Originally added to gasoline to promote cleaner fuel burning and improve air quality, MTBE easily migrates into water systems. Classified as a suspected carcinogen, the substance causes headaches, coughs, nasal and eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and disorientation.
Exposure to MTBE occurs by inhalation or absorption as well as by ingestion. Although some residents of Redwood Homes used bottled drinking water, they were still exposed to MTBE through cooking or bathing since the substance becomes gaseous when heated.
The MTBE contamination at Redwood Homes is believed to be the result of storage tank leakage from the VIA gasoline station (formerly BP Petroleum) located across from the park. When BP became VIA, a soil test revealed the presence of MTBE near the park's well. The suit also names the petroleum companies, claiming that they knew about MTBE's toxic properties and were well aware of its propensity to contaminate water systems.
The MTBE suit involving Redwood Homes was filed by Clayton Kent of Brayton Purcell, the largest law firm in the West representing consumers, injured workers and their families. If you have been exposed to MTBE and are concerned about your legal rights, please feel free to contact us.