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San Francisco says no to bottled water

San Francisco says no to bottled water

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Is city water better than bottled water? Mayor Gavin Newsom thinks so. Newsom has issued an executive order banning city departments from buying bottled water, even for water coolers. The ban goes into effect July 1, and will extend to water coolers by December 1. The move was billed as a way to help stem global warming and save taxpayer money. “We’re hoping to set the example for the private sector and other cities in getting off the bottle,” said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the San Francisco public utilities commission. In a press release announcing the decision, the mayor cited the environmental impact of making, transporting and disposing of the bottles. More than a billion of them end up in the state’s landfills each year, the release said. When the ban goes into effect, city and county offices will dispense municipal tap water from a reservoir. Winnicker said exceptions will be made in cases where potable water is not easily available or poses health concerns.

These types of moves may seem silly on the surface, and are often looked at as government meddling. Drudge and other mockers see this as an example of the “nanny state.” Here’s why this is different:

  1. PET bottles which take enormous quantities of polluting energy and resources to manufacture are normally used once and thrown away. The social cost of this waste is not reflected in the price of the product. This is an unpaid externality.
  2. Bottled water is often used when equally clean tap water is nearby. Ironically countries such as the U.S. which have the cleanest water are also the ones with the highest consumption of bottled water. Billions of people worldwide without access to clean drinking water would happily drink our tap water–it might even save their life!
  3. Few people take even the small obvious step of refilling and reusing bottles, because they think it is ‘unsanitary.’ The biggest problem with re-using plastic bottles is the growth of a person’s own mouth bacteria on the rim. But this only becomes noticeable after a week or so. If everyone reused their water bottles 3-5 times, it would cut down on a severe and growing source of pollution and greenhouse gases.
  4. Public perception that tap water is inferior has led to the growth of the bottled water industry. This is not the case. Bottled water is not necessarily even better than tap water. It has similar and sometimes higher levels of pollutants–often times it IS actually bottled tap water.

Gavin Newsom’s move may seem trivial. Even as people mock, however, they may start to think twice about the true social costs of unnecessary plastic use. If it raises consciousness and moves us to a more sustainable society, it’s well worth it.


Comments (One comment)

nyscof / June 24th, 2007, 3:00 pm / #1

This is good. Now the government officials and agencies who legislate fluoride into the water supply will be forced to drink it themselves.

Fluoride is added to San Francisco’s water supply, not to purify it, but to prevent tooth decay in tap water drinkers. Modern science shows it is ineffective, harmful to health and a waste of tax dollars.

Fluoride chemicals are silicofluorides – waste products of the phosphate fertilizer industry. They are dumped unpurified into the water supply. They are allowed to have trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury and other contaminnts.

Studies link silicofluorides to children’s higher blood lead levels which, in turn, are linked to higher rates of tooth decay.

The statistics prove that tooth decay is on the rise along with fluoride over dose symptoms – dental fluorosis

So drink up San Francisco government officials and make sure your kids do, too. If you are buying bottled water at home to protect your family, you should be protecting all San Franciscans by ending water fluoridation.

For more info: http://www.FluorideAction.Net

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