OBJECTIVES. This ecologic study assessed whether there was a change in health status in Alaska in the winter of 1992-93 after the introduction of MTBE in gasoline. Methyl tertiary butyl ether(MTBE) is used as a fuel oxygenate in the United States and in Europe. In the winter of 1992-93 MTBE was added to gasoline in the cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska. The program was discontinued in Fairbanks in December, 1992, but continued in Anchorage until February 28, 1993. METHODS. Outpatient visits for state employees and dependents (n = approximately 28,000) living in Alaska were compared over three winters by analyzing health insurance claims. RESULTS. Odds ratios were calculated. The odds ratios indicated that the winter of 92-93 was not statistically different from previous winters in numbers of claims for upper respiratory illness, bronchitis, headache, or asthma in either Anchorage or Fairbanks. CONCLUSION. There was no increase in claims for respiratory illness in either city after introduction of MTBE.