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Plastic bag ban: A health issue?

Original post made by Zeev Wurman, Palo Verde, on Apr 7, 2013

In view of the upcoming plastic bag ban, I thought that recent findings from a study might be of interest to our community. Quoting from Reason:

A new study finds that plastic bag bans may be causing an uptick in emergency room visits and even deaths from common foodborne bacteria like coliform and E.coli.

The bag bans, which are usually justified on environmental grounds, are increasingly popular around the nation and usually incentivize shoppers to replace plastic with reusable canvas or nylon totes.

The study ... found that in jurisdictions where plastic bags were banned saw ER visits increase by about one-fourth, with a similar increase in deaths compared with neighboring counties where the bags remained legal.

Basically people were schlepping leaky packages of meat and other foods in their canvas bags, then wadding to the bags somewhere for awhile, leaving bacteria to grow until the next trip, when they tossed celery or other foods likely to be eaten raw in the same bags.


Web Link

Comments (6)

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Posted by area man
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

If you google around, you'll find that the claims in that study have been soundly rebutted.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

Just use your common sense. Of course a bag that has carried meat which leaks is no longer clean and hygienic. I put all my meat and all my produce in plastic bags and frequently put the cloth bags in the wash. We all have to ensure the safety of the food we bring home.

It is the baggers who are most at risk and I have seen many wearing plastic gloves to bag groceries now.

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Posted by meat eater
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

Grocery stores are still allowed to give out plastic bags in the meat department, right?

I have a canvas shopping bag from Trader Joes that is many years old and still looks and works great. I throw it in the wash periodically to keep it clean.

Like this comment
Posted by Eyes Rolling
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Right. Ze'ev, you are certainly intellectual enough to be able to analyze this, unless math is your only superior analytical trait. Produce bags will still be available so your point is moot.

Like this comment
Posted by Local Shopper
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

I wash my canvas bags regularly, so should you.

Like this comment
Posted by Whats the problem
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 12:25 am

Most store clerks wrap potentially leaky foods in an extra plastic. I don't understand what kind of contaminated bags people have. I've been using mine for a long long time and they aren't really dirty inside. The outside a little, not much.

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