"There's always something wrong with everything," sighed
Trader Joe's shopper when informed that the environmentally-friendly bags
he was carrying may contain a harmful amount of lead. Those
eco-conscious totes, which are beginning to supplant plastic bags among
grocery shoppers, were supposed to be one of the "small steps" that
concerned citizens could take to be proactively green. Unfortunately, many of these plastic bag varieties are made
in China. And they contain "potentially unsafe" levels of lead. The New
York Times Michael M. Grynbaum
details the possible risk:
bags have maintained their popularity even amid charges that they
become hothouses for bacteria. The recent studies, none of which were
conducted by the government, found that the lead in some bags would pose
a long-term risk of seeping into groundwater after disposal; over time,
however, paint from the bag could flake off and come into contact with
Ironically, the timing of these revelations appears to
be coming right as shoppers just started getting used to hauling out
their branded totes to grocery stores.
But many shoppers said
they would continue relying on the bags until more information came out.
The bags are usable for years, they said, and any long-term effects of
lead may be offset by the environmental benefits gained by not using
regular plastic bags.
Next up: a potential federal investigation into the issue. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is leading the charge into the danger of recyclable bags after learning that numerous stores reportedly
sold tainted items to consumers.
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