Hill's Law
Fear mongering by the Endocrine Society

Reusable grocery bags are a source of cross-infection

Well, are you really surprised?

Far too many simpleminded Green precepts have terrible unintended consequences:

  • DDT ban led to millions of deaths from malaria
  • CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards created cars that even proponents admit are less safe
  • Drive to save energy in buildings by sealing them up tight as a drum created indoor air quality issues with radon and other toxics
  • Foolish advocacy of ethanol as an automotive fuel led to drastic increase in food prices

Now, a study—coming out of Canada—indicates that reusable grocery bags are a breeding ground for bacteria and pose public health risks: Food poisoning, skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections. It is noted that in the control group (single-use plastic bags and first-use reusables), there was no evidence of bacteria, mold, yeast, or total coliforms.

Astoundingly, 64% of the previously-used reusables showed the presence of some levels of bacterial contamination.

Greenie proponents are calling for users to clean the bags, but this is not as simple as it sounds. Organic matter is difficult to remove, and if left wet, the situation is probably made even worse. Other voices are blaming the findings on people using the grocery bags as general-purpose totes, thus mixing in gym clothes and even diapers. However, the real problem is contamination from various food items (and is some cases the bag's material), which can breed microbial growth.

Even without this bad news, it was difficult to justify the reusables, in terms of the extreme energy cost in both manufacturing and transportation from China—especially in light of the fact that most people do re-use plastic grocery bags.

Read my whole HND article for more serious public health implications.


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