On May 3, Sandwich will consider joining several other Massachusetts localities in enacting a single-use plastic water bottle ban. The ban would impose fines on retail stores and other establishments that fail to comply. But the arguments behind the proposal—pardon the pun—don’t hold water. If people can’t hydrate with water they will drink soda. In plastic bottles.

Despite that curious distinction, unsafe tap water can leave entire communities without access to clean drinking water while demonstrating the essential nature of purified bottled water. Several Massachusetts towns have experienced contaminated tap water, including high levels of toxic chemicals found in Westfield, and E. coli contamination in Onset and Wellfleet—who foolishly enacted a water bottle ban of their own. In 2016, the Town of Hyannis recommended pregnant women and nursing mothers drink bottled water due to elevated levels of PFOA and PFOS in their drinking water. These chemicals are a known cause of developmental problems.

Bottled water is essential for the health and safety of our families. The plastic resin used to create bottles is 100 percent recyclable. In fact, the American Chemistry Council indicates plastic bottles are the most-recycled plastic product in America. Litter is a concern. But greater recycling—not bans and fines—is the better policy.

Will Coggin

Mr. Coggin is the managing director of the Center for Accountability in Science.

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