From the New York Times: Even Reusable Bags Carry Environmental Risk
They dangle from the arms of many New Yorkers, a nearly ubiquitous emblem of empathy with the environment: synthetic, reusable grocery bags, another must-have accessory for the socially conscious.
But the bags, hot items at upscale markets, may be on the verge of a glacier-size public relations problem: similar bags outside the city have been found to contain lead.
“They say plastic bags are bad; now they say these are bad. What’s worse?” asked Jen Bluestein, who was walking out of Trader Joe’s on the Upper West Side with a reusable bag under her arm on Sunday.
“Green is a trend and people go with trends,” Ms. Bluestein said. “People get them as fashion statements and they have, like, 50 of them. I don’t think people know the real facts.”
There is no evidence that these bags pose an immediate threat to the public, and none of the bags sold by New York City’s best-known grocery stores have been implicated. But reports from around the country have trickled in recently about reusable bags, mostly made in China, that contained potentially unsafe levels of lead. The offending bags were identified at several stores, including some CVS pharmacies; the Rochester-based Wegman’s grocery chain recalled thousands of its bags, made of recycled plastic, in September.
Concerns have proliferated so much that Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, sent a letter on Sunday to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency to investigate the issue.
Climate-change-conscious shoppers at one of Manhattan’s culinary meccas on Sunday said they were chagrined that yet another good intention had gone awry.
“Bummer! We’re still not doing the right thing,” said Shelley Kempner of Queens, who was looking over the produce at Fairway on Broadway at West 74th Street. She prefers a reusable bag, she said, because she “likes the idea of not putting more plastic into the environment.”
Read entire article here h/t to Tom Nelson
George Carlin was prescient in his view of plastic bags: