San Francisco made another leap forward in maintaining the health of their citizens as well as their surrounding environment by forcing a blanket ban on the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property – a measure that has received unanimous approval by the city’s Board of Supervisors.
The board has ordered local food trucks and non-profit organizations until 2018 to completely cease their sale of plastic water bottles. Any other organizations found selling plastic water bottles on city property will be subject to a fine of up to $1000. During sporting events is the only time the sale of plastic water bottles is allowed.
Americans use 50 billion plastic bottles every year and are one of the biggest users of plastic water bottles worldwidd. Experts and the health conscious public alike have been very supportive of the ban due to the health effects of BMA-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
As well as causing damage to the environment there are also personal health risks associated with frequently plastic bottles as drinking vessels. The majority of plastic water bottles being sold are made with plastic that contains a chemical called BPA (Bisphenol A).
BPA is added to harden the plastic in its production. It is also a chemical that leeches into water when bottles are left in warm areas near to open water such as the tropics.
Bottles that contain of BPA-made plastic have been shown to pose serious health risks to pregnant women, unborn feotus and young children. This is due to the fact that 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.
- Increased risk of prostate or breast cancer.
- Hyperactivity and aggression.
- Heavy BPA exposure in the womb can also lead to serious birth defects.
There are countries that have banned the use of BPA-containing plastic water bottles for this very reason. Canada and Japan were among the first adopters of this new policy.
The United States do not have any current plans to enact a country-wide ban, however cities like San Francisco are setting the bar by banning the use of plastic water bottles altogether and realising that the way forward is not plastic.