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Lead and Bacteria in Reusable Bags? What Now!

11.16.10 Lead and Bacteria in Reusable Bags? What Now!

In the "what now!" department, the New York Times is reporting that lead has been found in some resusable bags.  Awesome!  I'll carry my organic produce in a bag containing lead, and bacteria from all the other times I used the bag and didn't wash it.  This might make one scream, I can't win!

But hold on.  Using cloth or nylon bags is way better for the environment:

Single-use paper and plastic bags cause environmental damage and use up 32% of landfill space because they can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Consider that the average American uses between 300 and 700 plastic bags per year with 100 billion plastic shopping bags consumed in the United States annually. Cutting single-use bag waste in half would reduce our oil consumption by more than 2,000 barrels a day and keep 73,000 tons of trash out of landfills.  Thanks to Two Knobby Tires for these stats. 

So we should use reusable bags, but take note of the offending ones listed below, and stick with canvas and cloth bags without bright colors.  Couldn't grocery shopping be a bit easier?

The lead containing bags came from several retailers, including "some CVS pharmacies; the Rochester-based Wegman’s grocery chain recalled thousands of its bags, made of recycled plastic, in September."  I can't say that I am shocked that the bags were made in China.

Maybe my old trusty canvas bags are the way to go.  I just need to wash the bacteria out of them every so often!  

image:  by inju on Flickr under Creative Commons

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