San Francisco has made another advancement in preserving the health of their citizens as well as their environment by banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property.
The measure received unanimous approval by the city’s Board of Supervisors, and gave local food trucks and non-profit organizations until 2018 to completely cease their sale of plastic water bottles. However, any other organizations found selling plastic water bottles on city property will be subject to a fine up to $1000. The only time the sale of plastic water bottles is allowed will be during sporting events.
Americans are one of the biggest users of plastic water bottles worldwide, using approximately 50 billion plastic bottles every year. Although many experts and health conscious individuals alike have supported the ban due to the health effects of plastic water bottles, a large reason it was passed was due to environmental reasons.
According to the anti-plastic bottle campaign Ban the Bottle, only 23% of the annual 50 billion plastic bottles used by Americans gets recycled. That means almost 39 billion plastic water bottles are being sent to landfills every year.
Health Risks of Plastic Water Bottles
Aside from causing damage to the environment, many health experts also warn of the person health risks associated with frequently drinking from plastic water bottles. This is due to the fact that the majority of plastic water bottles being sold are made with plastic that contains BPA (Bisphenol A).
BPA is a chemical meant to harden the plastic that it is used in. It is also a chemical that leeches into water, especially if bottles are left in warm areas such as a window ledge or inside a car on a sunny day.
Water bottles that are made of BPA-containing plastic can pose serious health risks to pregnant women, fetuses and young children. This is because BPA mimics the hormone estrogen, which can cause many abnormalities in developing children.
Exposure to BPA early on in life or in the womb can cause early onset puberty as well as an increased risk of prostate or breast cancer during adulthood. Many news outlets have also reported a link between BPA exposure and hyperactivity and aggression in young girls. Heavy BPA exposure in the womb can also cause more serious birth defects.
Many countries have banned the use of BPA-containing plastic water bottles for this reason, including Canada and Japan. The United States have yet to enact a similar country-wide ban, however many cities such as San Francisco are setting an example by banning the use of plastic water bottles altogether.
For more information on the dangers of plastic water bottles and BPA, click here.