I don't doubt it. I also don't doubt that most of the middle level managers didn't know the truth about it either. I worked as a project engineer in a chemical plant and remember well the lengths to which we would go to protect customer safety. As I noted in the piece, it isn't the companies that are the problem as much as it is the owners.
As I recall (and my recollection might be faulty), MTBE was developed by ARCO to avoid having to buy ethanol from ADM because of the government mandate. ARCO thought that their profit margins were too low at the time and that the ethanol mandate was going to kill them. That was at the same time that Lod Cook was increasing the ARCO debt to fend off the takeover of the company.
I have always felt that the takeover that did finally happen, was somehow illegal. The fact that all the members of the board were paid millions of dollars. to approve the take over, just didn’t seem right. Then there was that crazy deal that based the price for ARCO on BP stock price and the illegal Chinese IPO that BP supported, about two weeks before the take over, that caused BP stock to drop like a rock.