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San Fran Mayor Bans Water Bottles for Containing Non-existent Chemical

Memo to mayor and media: There are no plasticizers in plastic water and soda bottles.

Sometimes, being green means not reading the fine print. Take the recent decision by San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom to stop city government buying bottled water.

“More than 1 billion plastic water bottles end up in California’s landfills each year, taking 1,000 years to biodegrade and leaking toxic additives such as phthalates into the groundwater.”

It would certainly be better for California if residents did more to recycle plastic or cut down on its use – who could be comfortable with the idea of a billion bottles clogging up the earth each year, and the waste of energy? But there is an important fault-line in the mayor’s reasoning: plastic water and soda bottles don’t actually contain phthalates – they’re made with polyethylene terephthalate, a polyester.

Did the media catch this mistake? No. And to add an ironic twist today, Scholastic news online finished their article “Goodbye Bottled Water” (which began “Did you know that you could be harming the environment when you drink a bottle of water?”) with a “critical thinking question,” which asked students, “Do you think Mayor Newsom's decision about bottled water is a good one? Why or why not?”

Well it may be a good one, but not for the reason Mayor Newsom gave and Scholastic reported.


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