From California Watch:
The rewritten textbooks and teachers’ guides coincided with a public relations and lobbying effort by the chemistry council to fight proposed plastic bag bans throughout the country…
In 2009, a private consultant hired by California school officials added a new section to the 11th-grade teachers’ edition textbook called “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags.” The title and some of the textbook language were inserted almost verbatim from letters written by the chemistry council.
A five-point question was also added to the textbook, which asked students how plastic bags were advantageous to consumers.
It’s well known that plastic bags are extremely harmful to the environment. They aren’t biodegradable, and threaten wildlife both on land and in water. According to Love Your Earth, around one billion animals die yearly as a result of eating plastic bags (and it’s a horrible, painful death as well - the animals choke on the plastic).
California senator Fran Pavley, who authored legislation in 2003 that mandated environmental topics be included in school curriculums, had harsh words for the American Chemistry Council. “The American Chemistry Council obviously got engaged to protect their bottom line,” she said. And they have good reason for wanting to send a pro-plastic message out in light of new California legislation that has banned the use of plastic bags in several cities.
Hopefully, the misleading information will be edited out of the curriculum, which is currently being tested in 20 California schools districts.