June 9, 2017 - Los Angeles, CA –Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz (CD5) and Bob Blumenfield (CD3) introduced a motion today calling on the City of Los Angeles to take the lead after last week’s SB-705 (Allen) proposed State ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food containers (more commonly known as Styrofoam) stalled. Councilmembers Curren Price and Mike Bonin seconded the motion that asks for the Department of Sanitation to provide a feasibility study of banning polystyrene foam from the city.
“Heal the Bay’s data has been compelling for me. Polystyrene foam is the third most common source of debris on local beaches; if you simply walk on the beach, you see it everywhere you look,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “Because polystyrene doesn’t biodegrade, it can absorb toxins found in the ocean, which poses a danger to marine species that mistake foam for food. The fish and wildlife are the barometer of the health of our larger environment. I’m gravely concerned that the food chain will continue to grow ever more toxic if we don’t exchange our bad habits for better ones.”
“Now more than ever, we in Los Angeles and in California must stand up and fight to protect our environment and ensure that future generations enjoy clean mountains and beaches,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “Polystyrene is dangerous, toxic and is an unnecessary product. It is our duty to protect our environment regardless of what is happening in Washington D.C. With people like Scott Pruitt running the EPA, reversing decades of environmental progress, it is up to us to make sure that California’s beauty is protected.”
“I’m grateful to Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfield for proposing a policy that will protect our oceans, waterways and communities from the relentless scourge of polystyrene pollution. I remain committed to a statewide solution to this problem, but until that day comes, local communities like the City of Los Angeles can lead the way to a more sustainable future by ending the use of polystyrene takeout food containers,” said CA Senator Ben Allen.
“Polystyrene food packaging contains both Benzene and Styrene as component parts. Both have been identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as various degrees of human carcinogens, which means exposure can lead to cancer,” said Martha Dina Arguello, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility/LA. “Both toxins can leach from the foam containers into the food when heated, or in contact with acids, grease, and oil. We are all already exposed to too many toxins in our lives, especially low income and at-risk communities, and there are many other reasonable alternative containers available to food providers."
“With the statewide polystyrene food container ban stalling in the legislature last week, it’s time for Los Angeles to step up and join the dozens of other municipalities throughout California that have rid their communities of foam food containers,” said Sarah Sikich, Vice President of Heal the Bay. Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for Californians Against Waste added, “Consumers shouldn’t be forced to accept products that, by their very design, will pollute our beaches, creeks, and parks, with every meal that they purchase—especially not when safer, inexpensive and more sustainable alternatives are so readily available.”