Having solved crime, homelessness, high inflation and taxes in the New York City, the state is moving on to the issues that voters really care about. The New York State AG last week announced it was suing Pepsi for "endangering public health with its single-use plastic products" and "excessive pollution".
Fox News reported last week that the lawsuit, filed in Erie County and publicly announced last Wednesday, stands as one of the first of its kind in the United States, specifically targeting a significant plastic manufacturer. The litigation aims to compel PepsiCo to contribute to the cleanup of pollution and compensate for the damages incurred, particularly around the Buffalo River.
Additionally, the lawsuit seeks a court order to restrict the sale of single-use plastics by PepsiCo, unless these products are sold with clear warnings about their potential environmental and health risks. The state hopes that not only will your cigarettes come with warnings about your health and cancer risks, but your bottle of Pepsi sitting at the dinner table will also come with warnings about "environmental" risks.
This information was disclosed by the office of State Attorney General Letitia James in a statement released on Wednesday.
Attorney General Letitia James' office commented: "No company is too big to ensure that their products do not damage our environment and public health. All New Yorkers have a basic right to clean water, yet PepsiCo’s irresponsible packaging and marketing endanger Buffalo’s water supply, environment, and public health."
The statement continued: "Once ingested, microplastics permeate deep into our bodies, blood and organs, and can even be transferred from the placenta into unborn children. Exposure to microplastics and the chemicals they carry can cause a wide range of adverse health effects, from reproductive dysfunction to inflammation of the intestine and neurotoxic effects."
"When you spill toxic waste on land or in the water, we have laws that require that the polluter pay for the cleanup. This is no different," added Judith Enck, the president of the advocacy group Beyond Plastics.
From 2013 to 2022, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW) discovered that approximately 78% of the waste they encountered was plastic, with a significant portion identifiable as PepsiCo products, according to a recent statement.
In 2022 alone, BNW found 1,916 pieces of plastic litter, with 17% purportedly originating from PepsiCo brands. The lawsuit also cites claims by the organization Break Free From Plastic, which names PepsiCo as a leading source of these plastics nationwide from 2018 to 2022.
Based in Westchester County, New York, PepsiCo produces over 85 beverage and 25 snack food brands, with the majority of these products packaged in single-use plastic, as reported by the office.
BNW Executive Director Jill Jedlicka commented that Buffalo has "fought for over 50 years to secure hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up toxic pollution, improve habitat and restore communities around the Buffalo River."
She added: "We will not sit idly by as our waterways become polluted again, this time from ever-growing single-use plastic pollution. We applaud [the New York State Attorney General's Office] for holding producers accountable for this relentless assault on the environment and local waterways."
A Pepsi spokesperson told Fox the company is "serious about plastic reduction and effective recycling" and has been "transparent on [its] journey to reduce use of plastic and accelerate new packaging innovation."