People in Paradise lost their homes and most of their town, and then came more shocking news: Paradise’s water is contaminated with benzene, which is known to cause cancer.
Intense heat from the fires created a combination of gases that were ultimately sucked into water pipes. The contamination is widespread, and experts say it will take up to two years before residents can drink, cook, brush their teeth, or bathe with the tap water in that region.
No one was prepared for the breadth or scale of the contamination.
Watching my friends who lost everything in the Paradise fire was devastating. But watching the community come together and help each other – each in their own way – was heartwarming. My company donated 5,000 single serve bottles of water to help do our part for the victims.
The community will have no choice but to rely on bottled water as the primary source for safe drinking water for the foreseeable future, and officials and bottled water companies have been distributing supplies to residents for months.
Now there is legislation that will likely cause an increase in the cost of bottled water at precisely a time when these communities are trying to rebuild.
Assembly Bill 792 by Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco would require plastic beverage containers in California to be made with at least 25% recycled content material by 2021, 50% by 2025, and 75% by 2030.
The bill’s mandates apply to those same water bottles and jugs that many people living in and returning to communities like Paradise desperately need.