Inconvenient eco bags – now with lead

From the New York Times: Even Reusable Bags Carry Environmental Risk

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

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:

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79 thoughts on “Inconvenient eco bags – now with lead

  1. I like the idea of a re-usable bag, because they’re stronger and hold more than the plastic bags, and because they’re charging extra in some places to use them. My goal is not to “save the planet”, because the planet will do just fine with or without us.

  2. These meaningless gestures that make stupid people fell good about themselves almost always have a downside.
    There have been a number of reports on reusable [cloth] bags testing positive for dangerous bacteria, including E-coli, because of owners too dense or lazy to wash and bleach them between uses. Some people use them to carry dirty diapers or laundry one day, and groceries the next, and food itself is a major source of bacterial contamination.
    Many surveys over the years have shown that self-identified liberals, who tend to favor fads, are in general far less hygienic than other Western demographic groups. A quick visit to a few Greenie sites offers grim confirmation. The articles and blogs devoted to the alleged benefits of not bathing regularly, of not washing hair, of not using deodorants, disinfectants, and germicides are mind-boggling. The authors always insist their filth makes for healthier immune systems, though public health statistics say the exact opposite.
    Advances in hygiene are among the most important in Western evolution, but the Greenies seem hell-bent on reversing them as well.

  3. This is similar to a gag in the unfortunately canceled animated television series “The Goode Family.” The series showed week after week the impossibility of living within all the correct views of the day.
    In this case, the character Ellen Goode, is at local “One World” grocery store, and she forgot her eco bag. As she is at the checkout line, and everyone is staring at her as she mentally runs through all the evils of paper bags and the evils of plastic bags, she does a great pivot, and says she will just carry them in her hands. She doesn’t use eco bags anymore, since they are made by slave labor in China.
    I miss that show

  4. So let’s see now …
    Ban incandescent light bulbs … use CFLs instead … except they contain mercury and won’t be good in landfills.
    Paper or plastic? Forget that ! Reusable bags are the way to go; except that they will harbor bacteria, so have to be washed, unless you want to risk using a dirty bag. Now we find that some contain lead, also not good for lanfills.
    And don’t get me started on the so-called environmentally acceptable energy sources — wind, solar, tidal, etc. Wind turbines kill birds, vast tracts of land, usually in desert areas, are bad for the fragile environment.
    At the rate these … people … are going we won’t be able to do or use anything and our lives will be a state of misery and drudgery.
    You’d think that that’s what the enviromentalists want for us. Hmmmmm …

  5. Green Eco-bags……..oh the irony.
    Produced and shipped all the way from the biggest polluting nation in the world.
    Think plastic grocery bags aren’t valuable commodities after you get them home?
    Take a bag and wad it up into the tightest ball you can, and secure it with a couple of brightly colored rubber bands….Voila! Instant cat toy.
    My cat plays fetch endlessly with hers! (really!)

  6. @Jeff, I like the plastic bags for one very good reason: they’re perfect for cat poop. I can use them a few times at the shop and then give them one final send-off filled with cat litter and kitty by-products. Without these highly useful bags I’d have to buy much thicker, more wasteful bags… Well you’ve heard al the arguments, I’m sure.
    On the other hand, I suppose it could be argued that the supermarkets are subsidising my kitties with their free bags.
    Those re-useable bags are definitely handy for when I go do the bi-weekly bulk shopping at Aldi. I got mine from Ikea, though. Their plastic canvas stuff seems more hygienic than the fabric bags the other supermarkets are selling.

  7. The Lead, if it’s there, is likely in the red pigment used for the printing ink.
    Oh…… and the yellow pigment ? That’s possibly Cadmium.
    Cadmium is a human carcinogen, now what’s better a carcinogen or a nerve toxin ?
    I won’t have Chinese made consumer products in my house.

  8. Craig Moore says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:15 am
    I would like to nominate Dr. Carlin for a Nobel.

    Sadly, one must be alive to receive said award.

  9. If I purchase eco grocery bags and then have to purchase plastic trash bags as opposed to getting plastic grocery bags free and using them for trash, where’s the value to the environment?
    Or the value to me? I’m out the cost of the eco bags and out the cost of the trash bags.

  10. nutty isnt it, those bags are still!!! a petrochemical waste product.
    linen hemp or hessian last akmost forever, as bags, then, degrade to a useable compost unlike those so called green bags. they are the truly eco friendly product. but there isnt as much profit as they last, for too long.
    sth australia and victoria banned the light plastic carrybags, charities used them for their items sold, and yes by removing them, people still!!! buy binliners etc instead to dispose of inside waste, so = NO saving whatsoever.
    bloody idiocy brought to an art form.

  11. You can never know where those shopping bags have been, lead or no lead. It just makes sense that most people will wash their veggies before peeling and eating them.
    Also, there are a lot of household items that you shouldn’t grind up and ingest, because they’ll make you sick or kill you. What about those little lead weights on your fishing tackle? Don’t eat them because they far exceed the lead levels permitted by California and New York?
    My BS Meter is pegging here.

  12. Y’all realize the “free” plastic bags aren’t free, right? Just like you’re helping to subsidize credit card transactions when you pay cash, right?

  13. Now, if plastic bags never deteriorate in the landfill, doesn’t that just fit the bill for sequestering carbon?
    (just sane…)

  14. Gotta love the quick jump to conclusions that are made. People need to stop thinking in binary and start thinking in terms of risk. It isn’t a case of “has lead” or “doesn’t have lead”, the questions should be:
    Is the lead bioavailable if it is contained in the shopping bag?
    What is the risk that a person will intake the lead to a level that will create a health issue?
    What is the risk level compared to other risks in daily life?
    What is the risk level compared to non-reusable bags?
    My guess is that if people took a second to think about the risk involved in the simple task of putting fuel in their car, or driving said car down the street, and compared that to the risk of lead poisoning from a grocery bag they would quickly realize that it is a complete waste of time to even mention the presence of lead in a grocery bag. It’s the same as the hysteria that was drummed up over BPA in plastic bottles and all the other ridiculous threats of trace chemicals in every day items that will not cause health issues in a million years.
    Personally, I use the reusable bags because I get bonus points at the grocery store that I can use for free groceries, they hold a heck of a lot more that the regular plastic bags, the handles are more comfortable to hold when the bags are heavily loaded, and I don’t really worry about the bag ripping if there is a box or container that is poking awkwardly in the bag.

  15. Don’t call them “landfills” call them “Resource Banks for the Future.” Someday we will know how to use all that stuff.

  16. The media seem to really enjoy the idea that Chinese factories are taking the West’s so called e-waste, mixing in CFCs and a bit of melamine, heating over a coal fired brazier for a few days, and selling the resulting goop back to the Wholefoods chain in the US. And who can blame them?

  17. “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.

    That’s what you get for making your decisions based on what ‘they’ say.

    “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.”

    Very revealing. She knows that people are easily led, manipulated, and yet, doesn’t see the irony of that.

  18. LOL,
    We have used reusable bags for years, in fact ours are homemade.
    They can hold tons of things, take up very little space, and are washable.
    Every week they go into the washer.
    Plastic bags are great for putting smelly or what will become smelly stuff in so we don’t have to go to the transfer station all the time.
    People don’t have any common sense anymore, it is all that edumaction.

  19. pablo an ex pat says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:22 am
    Cadmium Sulphide’s LD is 10 GRAMS per kilo, then if your weight is, let’s say, 100 kilograms, you would have to eat 1,000 GRAMS (ONE KILOGRAM) to feel bad. I guess none has such an appetite for Cadmium Yellow.
    Cadmium pigments, because of its high UV resistance, can not be substituted by any organic pigment.
    All that GREEN LIE began in Germany: As a result all manufacture of Cadmium Pigments went abroad, to south eastern Asia, along with GREEN GERMAN JOBS.
    If stupidity continues (perhaps ON purpose) you’ll become the brand new FOURTH WORLD.
    Congrats!

  20. Anton’s point about the reversal of public health is important. It took 200 years to understand and enforce the basics of sewage, trash disposal, and insect control. The EPA in its first few years played a positive role, but now they’re destroying public health.
    Chlorination of water is another example. A little chlorine keeps the whole water system clean, but many cities are now switching to UV treatment at the source, which allows contamination at any point after the treatment plant.

  21. Here in the UK the major supermarket chain, Tesco, now gives you very thin, biodegradeable plastic bags. They biodegrade so fast you’ve a job to get your shopping home before they’re in bits! That’s progress, I suppose.

  22. I always ask for plastic AND paper. I accumulate the ones I do not need and burn them outside in my burn pile, along with plastic bottles, etc. This way there is no disposal problem and any bacteria are killed in the fire. A side benefit is the generation of CO2 to benefit the plants.
    By the way, Cadmium is also a neurotoxin, even more potent than lead.

  23. Envirosocialists makes a dent in the policy department and what do you get but green fluffy stuff being produced that uses more toxic crap in its production and emits more toxic crap then the old toxic crap that was scrapped decades earlier for being too toxic.
    And it’s all produced with the greenest blessings and award of all the hippie-policy-makers got to give, other people’s money by subsidizes by taxes.

  24. Plastic bags: I use them as garbage bags, so I don’t have to *buy* them. Therefore, I shop exclusively at stores that still hand them out with no charge and I boycott the other ones. Voting with my wallet that is.

  25. Lead is a natural part of the planet. Love the planet, love its lead! Lead is your best friend against evil man-made nuclear.

  26. BS Footprint says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:56 am
    “She knows that people are easily led,[…]”
    Led! Make that “lead”. BRUAHAHAHA…

  27. “There have been a number of reports on reusable [cloth] bags testing positive for dangerous bacteria, including E-coli, because of owners too dense or lazy to wash and bleach them between uses. ”
    BLEACH??? Bleach??? The very idea of using bleach will bring all the eco-warriers down on you like a ton of bricks.
    Having said that, I am still using two large, but very tattered, re-usable bags from an Irish supermarket that I bought three and a half years ago. Bleach would finish them off. I use biodegradeable nappy sacks for collecting dog poo and they make lovely handwarmers (joke!) when out walking the dog in this freezing weather. On QI the other evening Stephen Fry was dishing out facts about the CO2 emissions of dogs being equal to emissions from Toyota Landcruisers. Bill Bailey (comedian) was ecstatic that his 4 dogs, 2 cats, numerous birds and guinea pigs seemed to entitle him to about 3 landcruisers – very funny.

  28. I just shrugged. Unless they are eating or smoking their bags, there should be zero risk. If someone complains that they could get lead poisoning from eating fruits or veggies carried in the bag, how? I mean they washed them before eating them, right? If the answer was no, they are far more likely to have health issues related to all the people fondling those foods before they picked them up or at the cashier. Then they even may get contaminated by that raw chicken that was on the belt 2 shoppers ago.
    Me, I love the plastic bags. Super H (H Mart) has the best ones that have not been thinned to the point of uselessness. We recycle them or use them as trash can liners. They even work great for cleaning the cat box. That is something I just would not do with a reusable bag. 🙂

  29. pablo an ex pat says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:22 am
    I won’t have Chinese made consumer products in my house.
    Do you keep your computer at someone else’s house?

  30. Another good intention gone awry. How about another nutty idea gone awry.
    Paper and plastic bags are just fine and I reuse them for other purposes and it is not to choke a fish or duck. . A grocery store cannot use old boxes for food products so why should we use an old bag over and over again.

  31. I am old enough to remember when plastic bags were pushed onto us by environmentalists as a way to save ‘X’ million trees/year…

  32. bubbagyro says: at 10:12 am
    I always ask for plastic AND paper. I accumulate the ones I do not need and burn them outside in my burn pile, along with plastic bottles, etc.
    That is not a good idea and where I live it is against the law. Look up burning plastic on the web. Lots of hits. If you do burn the stuff, don’t breath and also, ask your neighbors upwind not to burn any.

  33. Hey, ho…
    I always use plastic bags to line small rubbish bins(that’s trash bins to you lot over the herring pond) – and as they are biodegradeable they will break down once they get on the landfill site – UNLIKE ‘proper’ bin liners, which you buy on a roll – so MUST stay together long enough for you to use them all..!
    This story is like the light bulb saga – all those well-informed politicians forcing us to dump ordinary light bulbs in favour of horrible ‘low energy’ ones – which of course are just coiled-up fluorescents, so contain mercury – and in any case have been superceded by LEDs which last forever and consume about one-tenth of the energy of the so-called low energy ones. Here in the UK the big stores are practically giving them away… So much for well-informed politicians…

  34. gnomish says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:40 am
    “Now, if plastic bags never deteriorate in the landfill, doesn’t that just fit the bill for sequestering carbon?”
    That’s one of those anti-intuitive things people just don’t get about the environment. Ask any person on the street what’s bad about plastic bags, and they will invariably say “they stay around for 10,000 years!”
    To which, the reply is, “don’t you realize how awesomely wonderful that is? You throw it away, and it stays thrown away, not leaching toxins into groundwater or breeding killer germs or feeding vermin or anything!”
    Plastic bags are the most wonderful, Green with a capital “G” invention of the century. They take very little energy to manufacture or ship, because they are so lightweight. They don’t require bleaching agents or large amounts of waste water. And, as others have noted, they can have so many other uses before being discarded. They’re fantastic! The inventors should get a Nobel prize. Them, and the guys who figured out how to make stable, wheeled luggage.

  35. #
    Mark in Sandy Eggo
    November 15, 2010 at 9:14 am
    In this case, the character Ellen Goode, is at local “One World” grocery store, and she forgot her eco bag. As she is at the checkout line, and everyone is staring at her as she mentally runs through all the evils of paper bags and the evils of plastic bags, she does a great pivot, and says she will just carry them in her hands. She doesn’t use eco bags anymore, since they are made by slave labor in China.
    #
    I will never be able to look at those stupid “vanity bags” again without thinking of this scene and giggling. It had to have been one of the funniest things on TV in a long time.
    “Load me up!”

  36. Thanks for the George Carlin. I’d read the Maldives post first, then this plastic bag post and it all just felt like a full-on frontal assalt from the forces of insanity. GC restored my mental balance. I’d seen most of the material before but the timing made it the perfect antidote to my being close to boiling point with the utter insanity we see around us in public life all the time with regard to AGW and the public’s reaction to being brainwashed about it. Yes, brainwashed about the issue, not educated. Thank goodness for people like the late George Carlin.

  37. Funny, I still have cotton bags that are 20 years old from Germany. Every supermarket had them for sale as well as the plastic ones. No lead in them, just wash them every now and again.
    The real plastic problem isn’t in the US or Europe, it’s in the third world where every item purchased must be stapled in a plastic bag—or if it is too big, have a plastic bag stapled around it. Those bags can’t be reused. They also can’t be refused, so if a person is buying an item for immediate use–like a candy bar..they just walk outside and toss it.

  38. @ Anton – “Many surveys over the years have shown that self-identified liberals, who tend to favor fads, are in general far less hygienic than other Western demographic groups.”
    Now, there’s some “surveys” I must read. Can you provide links or details, please?

  39. John F. Hultquist says:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Polyethylene burns much, much cleaner than wood or paper. Some plastics are toxic to burn, so a little homework is necessary. In most of the world, dung is burned. If it against the law to burn where one lives, one can move or change the law.
    This reminds me of the eco-freaks in California who do not burn underbrush because it is illegal. Then they complain when the fire, which could have been obviated by controlled burning, is consuming their houses and loved ones, and the firefighters are not fast enough.
    Interesting point to consider: Smokey the Bear used to say, “Only you can prevent Forest Fires”. Now he says, “Wildfires”. Why? Because the Eco-Freaks had told us for years that all fires were bad. They got all burning outlawed. Research then showed and proved that many pines, like Bristlecones, could not reproduce without fire, and in Yellowstone, that fires were necessary for Buffaloes to prosper. The Native Americans knew the value of fire in managing the prairies. Now the US Forest Service, after many environmental and personal catastrophes, does controlled burns (but not in CA—maybe the state would be better off razed, they must think, I don’t know).
    So don’t tell us what is legal. We get to decide that. Unfortunately, many laws are based on ignorance and emotion, something the Eco-freaks are full of, it seems.

  40. MattN; and the real kicker is that the trees that are used to make the paper bags grown specifically for that purpose, ie. to be made into paper. St. Regis, Mead, and other paper companies in the US own millions of acres of forests specifically cultivated for harvesting, like a corn crop only longer. Trees are a real renewable resource but the greens always try to make it sound like they’re harvesting The Forest Primevael to make paper and other wood products.

  41. Sometimes I think that if half the people who use reusable bags knew what they were buying into , they’d stop using them . I’ve come to view using plastic bags as a form of protest . My wife advocates paper , mainly because she occasionly receives royalties from the sale of slash pine used in pulp mills .

  42. DaveF says:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:12 am
    Here in the UK the major supermarket chain, Tesco, now gives you very thin, biodegradeable plastic bags. They biodegrade so fast you’ve a job to get your shopping home before they’re in bits! That’s progress, I suppose.
    ———————————————————-
    My friend at work was moving desk – after only a few months. He was cleaning out his desk and the boss noticed all the seemingly shredded up plastic. She thought it must have been a mouse until a couple of people piped up that we’d noticed this with the new, ‘bio-degradable’ Tesco bags. They probably use some carcinogenic chemical to make them bio-degradable.
    Great eh? Progress? No.

  43. Surely any kind of plastic bag must be carbon-positive as crude oil provides the main constituent of plastic. Sisal or hemp bags make good sense, They are tough, washable
    easily grown on marginal land, low-energy, low-technology, low start-up costs and provide a use for machetes other than chopping up the inhabitants next village. I would have thought the eco-freaks would be all over the idea.

  44. Carlin was one of the biggest skeptic of all time. That made him more scientific than a lot of so called fame-seeking climate scientists.

  45. Wilson says:
    @ Anton – “’Many surveys over the years have shown that self-identified liberals, who tend to favor fads, are in general far less hygienic than other Western demographic groups.’”
    “Now, there’s some “surveys” I must read. Can you provide links or details, please?”
    I’ll have to hunt down the surveys, some of them from a few years back. In the meantime, here are some lovely articles on the new filth PC fashion. Note that the new excuse is that being dirty is good for the environment, actually the same excuse used by hippies forty years ago.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/02/give-up-washing-showering
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/12/moneyless-man-soap-free-hygiene
    http://thenewamerican.com/index.php/opinion/selwyn-duke/5092-stinking-in-america-is-not-washing-the-new-pc-trend
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/fashion/31Unwashed.html?_r=1

  46. #
    Grumpy old Man says:
    November 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm
    “I would have thought the eco-freaks would be all over the idea.”
    Na, that don’t like anything like that. After all it might that, … you know …, actually work.

  47. I like the idea of a re-usable bag, because they’re stronger and hold more than the plastic bags, and because they’re charging extra in some places to use them.

    The big problem with these bags — aside from lead! — is you’re supposed to wash them between uses to avoid cross contaminating your food E. coli and other nasties.
    And that takes time which could otherwise be used for the enjoyment of life. It also takes the use of water, detergent, and electricity. I don’t think there’s any net benefit to the environment.
    And you have to remember to bring the things with you too.

    Of the bags tested, 64 per cent were contaminated with “some level of bacteria,” about 30 per cent had “elevated bacterial counts” higher than what is considered safe for drinking water, 40 per cent of the bags had yeast or mould, and some of the bags had “an unacceptable presence of coliforms.”

    Good to know reusable bags harbor bacteria and require natural resources to keep them clean. Hey, it gives me a great idea — what if they made grocery bags that were disposable?

    NEVER put raw meat packaging in a reusable shopping bag. The hot water in your clothes washing machine is not hot enough, and doesn’t flow enough to rid your bag of these bacteria.

    Ask your dentist why they don’t reuse gauze and suction tips they used on other patients, then think about that canvass bag.

  48. Anton says:
    November 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm
    Note that the new excuse is that being dirty is good for the environment, actually the same excuse used by hippies forty years ago.
    #
    I live in a land of moonbats, but where I use to live was far worse ( Sonoma county, CA). I have never seen so many species of them in one place. Being a yote, by nature, I enjoy preying on the little buggers from time to time.
    I found this “Earth Day” shirt, that was way too amusing for me to pass up. “Save Energy – Wear a Dirty Shirt”. From my perspective, it shows the true hart of the enviro-nuts. They want to turn us all in to filthy, diseased and bug ridden savages.
    First day I wore it, my ex-hippy landlord saw it. “OH, what a Great shirt!!! We really do use to many resources.” [pridefully] “I only shower ever couple days!”
    Seriously, it took all my will, not to bust out in laughter; need to be polite to the landlord after all. Others who fell into my trap were not so lucky. I still have fun with that shirt.

  49. “Shelley Kempner of Queens, who was looking over the produce at Fairway on Broadway at West 74th Street”
    What time was Shelley looking over the produce? What is her middle name? This article is completely lacking in detail!

  50. bubbagyro says:
    November 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm
    Polyethylene burns much, much cleaner than wood or paper. Some plastics are toxic to burn, so a little homework is necessary. In most of the world, dung is burned. If it against the law to burn where one lives, one can move or change the law.
    Depends of the temperature which is reached. Backyard barrel burning hardly reaches 600°C. Mostly a lot lower. That causes a lot of smoke, including PAH’s (and dioxins – there is already enough chlorine present in the ambient air, adhered soils, any other natural waste), CO and so on, which are not that good for health… But indeed, in general less worse than burning paper or (wet) wood, leaves and other (garden and kitchen) waste.
    Anyway completely forbidden in my country, where a lot of waste is burned in state of the art incinerators reaching much higher temperatures (900°C and higher) with energy recuperation, neutralising of the acid components and destruction of dioxins and NOx to near undetectable levels.

  51. Also worth remembering that the plastic bags are a bi-product of the fractionation process that enables you to drive to the supermarket to get the shopping in the first place!
    But now we’re not allowed to use them because they’re not PC?
    And what about the checkout experience these days? In the UK we have ‘fast lanes’ where you can ‘scan your own goods’ (save the globalists some money by eliminating checkout jobs).
    ‘Please wait for assistance’, ‘unexpected item in bagging area’, ‘ please key in the item’s product number’. ‘thank you for using the fast lane’, ‘don’t forget your receipt’. ‘Please place the item in the bagging area’, ‘please wait for assistance’, AAARRGGHHHH!
    Just give me the RFID implant and have done – checkout the goods, debit my card, check I’m not on a no-buy list, you know. The de-humanisation process is well underway, anyway.

  52. Wher I live in Australia we have no choice – we have to use those bags because plastic shopping bags are illegal. Got no choice. Or we can PAY 10 cents each for a enviro-bag, supposedly made of corn starch, which will compost away.

  53. Well I am sure it is all a trick to charge me more for my grocerioes by adding lead to the bag. Frankly I’d rather they just put their thumb on the scale like normal ordinary crooks do.
    I’ve been fishing with lead sinkers for longer than I care to admit; and I’ve never had a poisoned fish yet.
    Biggest hazard I have ever had from lead is whacking myself in the back of the head; or in my back with a lead weighted fly ; that went awry in the air.

  54. And another thing! Why do we have to pay for the resuable bags? The supermarkets are making a double saving because we’re too dumb to notice or complain.
    Today, I sell you something and I give you the bag for free. I absorb the cost of the bag into the price of the goods.
    Tomorrow, I sell you something. But this time I make you pay for the bag. I save my costs for producing the bags so the profit on the “something” is greater and also make a charge for the bags. I’m paid twice.
    I’m all for free enterprise – but things like this really bug me.

  55. timheyes,
    California is going to require eco bags by charging 25 cents deposit on 1/2 cent plastic bags. That’s not free enterprise. “Eco bags” are an example of unelected busybodies sticking their noses where they don’t belong. Here’s an example of the camel’s nose under the tent:

    Imagine telling somebody twenty years ago that by 2007, it would be illegal to smoke in a pub or bus shelter or your own vehicle, or that there would be £80 fines for dropping cigarette butts, or that the words “tequila slammer” would be illegal, or the government would mandate what angle a drinker’s head in an advertisement may be tipped at, or that it would be illegal to criticise religions or homosexuality, or rewire your own house, or that having sex after a few drinks would be classed as rape, or that the State would be confiscating children for being overweight. Imagine telling them the government would be contemplating ration cards for fuel, and even foods, that every citizen would be required to carry an ID card filled with private information which could be withdrawn at the state’s whim. They’d have thought you a paranoid loon.

    [source]

  56. It’s not everyday that one discovers the meaning of life.
    The Earth created life to create people to create plastic…… Our work here is done:-)

  57. This is actually more dangerous than you think-there are a large number of home gardeners growing potatoes in these sacks.
    Potatoes for home/personal consumption.
    This is bad news-bad news indeed.

  58. Lead has made me ill many, many times; when people have used it as a past participle of the verb “to lead”.

  59. So, doesn’t that just beat all, our parents and grandparents were right to use paper bags after all. Imagine that. Nothing better than recycling a tree grown by CO2 vs a tree made from oil 🙂
    Now, if we can just get rid of all that extra packaging that you can’t get into anyway 🙂

  60. This is from the “care and use” tag in a reusable bag gotten at the local Giant supermarket, emphasis added.

    earthwise bag company, inc.
    Made in China
    100% non woven polypropylene
    Cold Hand Wash
    Do Not Bleach

    Do Not Tumble Dry
    http://www.earthwisebags.com

    Above are comments about the hazards of not washing and bleaching reusable bags. But these can’t be bleached, can only be gently hand washed, and forget about using the clothes dryer. Unless I find a method of soaking them in an acceptable disinfectant, I can’t clean them well enough to remove bacteria.
    The Earthwise insulated zipper bag is worse, “Spot wash with sponge.” What, I can’t get it soaking wet? The tag says the Outer Shell is that 100% non-woven PP. It claims the Inner Lining is 100% aluminum foil, which makes it a true modern miracle in Materials Science as I have never seen thin metal that looks and behaves exactly like a thin metalized plastic film, like thin Mylar. I don’t know what the padding, the insulation, is made of as somehow that information was (conveniently?) left off the tag. Going by thinness, feel, and density, as felt between the outside layers, it could be the same stuff found in the “blotters” used for plastic-wrapped fresh meat.
    So if I use this “hot and cold” insulated bag to bring home rotisserie chicken and some juices leak out of the container into the bag, my only safe action is to throw the bag out.
    This is found in the Earthwise FAQ:

    How should I care for my reusable bag?
    A: Inside of every bag you will find a care label that clearly indicates the proper way to care for your bag. All of our bags are washable and our Tyvek bags are machine washable and dryable, getting softer with each wash!

    Oh yeah, they’re pushing their DuPont™ Tyvek® bags hard, starting from the main page. The material used for throw-away industrial clean-up suits, and sleeves and liners for real floppy disks, is now a material of choice for washable reusable shopping bags. And the Tyvek breaking down and getting softer is apparently a good thing.
    Also from the FAQ (can you spot the grammar error from the “Made in China” manufacturer?):

    How long does a reusable bag last?
    A: One reusable bag can replaces thousands of plastic bags over the course of its lifetime. With proper care Earthwise bags can be used hundreds of times before needing to be replaced.

    1 reusable bag = 1000’s of plastic bags
    1 Earthwise bag = 100’s of plastic bags?
    Do you know anyone willing to hand wash in cold water their reusable shopping bags then hang them up to dry, possibly hundreds of times for the same bag? Do they also really expect them to last for hundreds of uses (once a week, use then wash, for around four years)?

  61. John Marshall said on November 16, 2010 at 1:35 am:

    Lead in ecobags and mercury in light bulbs where next?

    Toyota Prius or similar vehicle crashes on a highway, intense fire, total incineration. Emergency responders report breathing problems, which later prove persistent, perhaps chronic. Local residents also have them. At some point of investigation, by government officials, intrepid journalists, and/or concerned citizens, the ground around the site, hosed down during and after the burning, is revealed to be highly contaminated with metals and chemicals from the batteries, to the level requiring cleanup by soil removal, thus the atmospheric presence of them due to the fire is known to have been unacceptably high. This is revealed by an expose in the media, where they postulate about the cancer risks. Game over.
    Side rant: Of course if it is a Toyota, they’ll print “Do not incinerate” on the battery pack, stick that info in the owner’s manual, and declare “Problem solved.” Remember the runaway Toyota issue? Toyota released a report several weeks ago saying the problem was largely user error, pointing out how the “black boxes” reported half the drivers were pumping the accelerator.
    Away from the management/engineering/PR team, here in the real world it is known it is standard for the gas pedal connection to the motor to be a cable, specifically a cable in a plastic-lined metal sheath. Cables get stuck in sheaths, linkages on the engine can get hung up, a standard method of dislodging such is yanking on the cable, and pressing that pedal pulls that cable, thus pumping the gas pedal is an acceptable way to try to “fix” an over-accelerating vehicle. I’ve done it myself, it’s worked.
    The report was barely on the TV news for a single day. I haven’t heard of it since.

  62. Joy. Lead in eco-bags, mercury in CFLs, BPA in plastic bottles. Dioxins, pesticides, e. coli, trans fats. The list goes on and on and on.
    I have become firmly convinced that the greatest single health risk I face from all of these things is the stress of trying to deal with them. Accordingly, I give up. I’ll stick with the common-sense precautions my parents drilled into me, and forget the rest of this stuff (they’ll change their minds about what’s good and what’s bad in a few years anyway).

  63. I look forward to the day that customer service (and disposable bags) returns to stores. With patience I think we will prevail in the this rhetorical battle with the eco-fascists.

  64. Away from the management/engineering/PR team, here in the real world it is known it is standard for the gas pedal connection to the motor to be a cable, specifically a cable in a plastic-lined metal sheath. Cables get stuck in sheaths, linkages on the engine can get hung up, a standard method of dislodging such is yanking on the cable, and pressing that pedal pulls that cable, thus pumping the gas pedal is an acceptable way to try to “fix” an over-accelerating vehicle. I’ve done it myself, it’s worked.

    I have personally reached the pedal (by a free hand) and pulled it back; this was not, in my case, on a Toyota, but some other manufacturer’s care in bygone years …
    Then there was the one case where a motor-mount broke on a V-8 powered American 2-door ‘sled’ thereby pulling the throttle cable taut – and yielding full throttle. Since this was fortuitously while parking and up against a curb, brakes were already being partially applied and the situation was under control BUT startling nonetheless (and bent a lower control arm and ball joint in the process) …
    .

  65. Hello – is anyone out there listening? We are the original ecobags brand and “eco bags” is not a generic catch all for reusable bags! We produce high quality reusable bags, certified for social compliance and materials since 1989.
    Continue to speak out about low cost, low quality, unsustainable options but call them “reusable bags” or “eco-friendly?” or whatever but stop calling them eco-bags, because they’re not!
    Thank you!

  66. The specific type that’s implicated is NWPP – Non-Woven PolyPropylene . The polyester and cotton types are fine.
    The disposable plastic bags are a plague — they are dangerous litter all over the planet. And create more waste and use more energy net-net than paper bags. The were another idiot greenie push: to get rid of paper bags, which biodegrade easily.

  67. Brian H says:
    November 20, 2010 at 9:53 am
    “And create more waste and use more energy net-net than paper bags.”
    What a silly notion. See this:

    Paper bag production takes one 20 year old tree and four times the energy to produce 700 bags.

    “…paper bags, which biodegrade easily.”
    Biodegradable is not always good. See here:

    Each year millions of pounds of highly toxic chemicals such as toluene, methanol, chlorine dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde are released into the air and water from paper making plants around the world.

    You think none of that remains in the paper which decomposes?
    Besides, in modern landfills, paper degrades no faster than plastic. From the first source:

    Nothing completely degrades anymore in our modern landfills. This is because of the lack of water, light, oxygen and other elements that are necessary to complete the degradation process. The end result is, paper really doesn’t brake down any faster than plastic in a landfill. It also takes up more space than plastic.

  68. Sorry Bart, all bull. And what can you believe from anyone who can write or quote “brake down”? Illiteracy is not impressive, rather the opposite.
    Even if you’re a CO2 -is-evil-believer, it happens that the best way to get it out of the air is to cut down mature trees and use the wood in some long-lasting application, like furniture, and let new young trees grow up and absorb the CO2.
    Of course, CO2 is beneficial so we should actually be trying to maximize its release, not its capture.

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