The claim that bottle caps can be used to pay for chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients is a hoax, according to the American Cancer Society. The claim stems from an email that began to circulate on the Internet in 2008.
Depending on the version, the email claims that 1,000 to 10,000 bottle caps can be redeemed for one chemotherapy treatment for a needy patient, notes the ACS. The email was the source of news stores in West Virginia and Virginia in the past, but after researching the claim, the conclusion of the American Cancer Society is that the claim is a hoax. The organization likens the claim to a similar claim of cash for trash that was previously in circulation.
The claim was so widespread that even some churches and other organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, started drives to harvest the bottle caps, notes Snopes.com. A similar claim arose in Afghanistan in 2010, with soldiers and others on the U.S. Air Force base asked to save caps from plastic water bottles to be recycled into limbs for injured soldiers. Thousands of caps were donated in bins that were set up around the base, but no one ever claimed the caps, and an ensuing investigation by the Judge Advocate General determined that the claim was also a hoax.