Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Toronto makes "dumbest bans" list

Toronto received "dishonourable mention" on Competitive Enterprise Institute's 2009 "Five Dumbest Product Bans" (pdf) list.

The lists' main topics are the bans on Provenge, an end-stage prostate cancer treatment drug, online gambling, buying a coffin from an unlicensed dealer, selling a flower arrangement as an unlicensed florist, and selling horse meat.

Toronto managed to get a mention on the list despite being a foreign city because of its ban on selling bottled water.

Toronto’s ban restricts access to a product many consumers want, potentially harms many vulnerable people, and does nothing to forward its supposed purpose of protecting the environment. Consumers obviously want to buy bottled water and, by all accounts, consuming the product does no harm. Bottled water has no calories and many consumers enjoy its flavor or the simple convenience of having portable water. Bottled water is extremely safe in terms of health, especially when compared to tap water.

In fact, a number of vulnerable groups appear to benefit from bottled water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, says that people with HIV/AIDS “may wish to avoid tap water…boil or filter...water, or drink bottled water.”24 At least one major hospital has advised its patients to drink only bottled water.25 In addition, bottled water can prove a lifesaver during natural disasters when municipal water systems become inoperable or rescue workers simply need convenient, portable water.

CEI does some great work on regulation and stupid bans. It's just a shame we're able to make their "dumbest bans" list from over the border.

Cross-posted to The Shotgun.

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