HC Deb 07 March 2000 vol 345 c600W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 1 March 2000,Official Report, column 282W, concerning MTBE, what contribution has been made by oil companies to the Environment Agency's research project on the incidence of MTBE in England and Wales; if he will publish the results when available; and what assessment he has made of the possible carcinogenicity of MTBE. [113543]

Mr. Mullin

The current Environment Agency project on MTBE incidence in England and Wales has received valuable financial and other assistance from major oil companies through the Institute of Petroleum. The results of the research, which forms part of a wider investigation into the fate and transport of chemicals in the sub-surface, will be made available by the Environment Agency. US work suggests that the carcinogenicity risk of MTBE is very small at the levels currently found. The toxicity and carcinogenicity of fuel ethers is, however, currently the subject of a major review by the Finnish Environment Agency on behalf of the European Environment Agency. A draft report is expected this spring.