MMT, also know as methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl, is a manganese compound which, when burned in automobile engines, results in manganese air pollution. While the body needs dietary traces of manganese, excess amounts of airborne manganese - which is more readily absorbed by the brain than dietary manganese - are toxic.
The relationship between high doses of inhaled manganese and various manifestations of neurotoxicity, respiratory toxicity, and reproductive toxicity has been well documented by neuroscientists. Some research confirms that manganese is a neurotoxin with exposure causing Parkinson's disease-like symptoms. Miners exposed to excess manganese have a high rate of psychosis, severe neurological disease, and premature death.
MMT was originally added to gasoline to replace lead as an octane-enhancer fuel additive. Ethyl Corp., the maker of the MMT fuel additive was also the maker of the original fuel additive -- lead, a product later banned because of its neurotoxicity.
MMT improves the performance of gasoline by increasing fuel efficiency. Research has shown that the use of MMT in
gasoline reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 20%. Nitrogen oxide is a major component of urban smog.
Use of MMT provides the most cost-effective means currently available to refiners to raise the octane of gasoline. MMT allows refiners to produce more gasoline from a barrel of crude oil, significantly conserving the earth's resources.