Study Shows High Levels of MMT in Gasoline

costa rica gas prices

The Super and Plus gasolines that is distributed by Recope since January contains methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT in English) – an additive that have negative effects for automobiles and also people, warned the Aresep.

Experts explained that this component causes damage to the catalytic converter (the exhaust system gas) in vehicles, plus it increases fuel consumption and damages the spark plugs.

Meanwhile, humans can suffer respiratory problems, neurological damage if chemical exposure is very high and long.

Notification of the problem was released yesterday by the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep), after several studies in the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (Recope) tested positive with the MMT.

The analysis found for every liter of carbide, it had up to 23 milligrams (mg) of MMT, when it is limited to between 8 mg and 18 mg.

“We began to see that the composition of gasoline was not the same. And we saw that both trigger (and super plus) had sediment and water, “said Sandra Gallegos, Aresep chemical engineer.

Eight months ago Recope knew but the results of the studies on gasoline came to the regulatory authority just last week.

Jorge Rojas, general manager at the company, said the institution was unaware that the supplier was selling gasoline with that substance.

“We did not know about the component until a car dealership asked if the gasoline had manganese problems in some vehicles, “said Rojas.

The chemical engineer of Aresep, Sandra Gallegos, said that substances such as MMT are not regulated by national legislation because the regulations do not establish the allowed values.

But he said that Recope has an obligation to report any changes in additives but this time did not do it very timely when it came to reporting the use of MMT.

Aresep evaluates the opening of administrative proceedings against the refinery. However the president considered it unlikely a penalty will be given considering that MMT is not regulated.

Dr. Luis Manuel Quiros Soto, Chief of Pulmonology Children’s Hospital, confirmed yesterday that high exposure to this chemical can have negative consequences on health, especially respiratory status.

“It causes neurological problems. Some studies point to problems in the brain and other breathing, clear, high exposures. Studies in other countries even show effects on plants and animals, “he said.

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