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One more step

June 26, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 26

With respect to the putative advantage of ethanol as a gasoline additive (C&EN, April 24, page 28), the original purpose was to provide an emissions oxidant to replace methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE). What was the objection to MTBE? When gasoline station storage tanks leak (which, apparently, many of them do), MTBE in the fuel gets into the groundwater supply, giving it an awful smell and taste. Then, lots of people complain. There has been no demonstration of MTBE toxicity in humans at normal levels of exposure, to my knowledge.

One would think the sensible thing to do would be to require gasoline stations to replace leaky tanks. Growers of corn, however, had a neater solution: Substitute ethanol for MTBE. Perhaps it was even a more economical (and tastier) solution than digging up all those tanks. The trouble is, I don't think that anyone has done that comparison.

David M. Wetstone
Hartford, Conn.

Dues Increase

ACS membership dues are slated to increase from $127 to $132 in 2007 consistent with council action this spring in Atlanta (C&EN, April 17, page 43). In addition, as authorized by the ACS Board of Directors, a $4.00 fee will be added to support increased funding for divisions and local sections. Reduced from $5.00 in 2006 and 50% of the $8.00 fee originally planned for 2007, this temporary special assessment started in 2004 following ACS Constitution and Bylaws amendments that increased division and local section allotments from member dues. The special assessment is slated to end with the 2007 dues cycle. The fee is prorated for membership categories paying less than full dues.

It is an opportunity for ACS members to use the transforming power of chemists to leave a national meeting city better than we found it!

Annual Report

The 2005 American Chemical Society Annual Report is now available online. To access it, visit the ACS home page at and click on the link to the Annual Report. For print copies, please send an e-mail including your name and mailing address to Doug Dollemore at


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