Shoppers shrug off fears about lead in reusable shopping bags
So you care about the environment, and you take a reusable shopping bag with you to the grocery store to avoid polluting the planet with countless plastic nike air max 95 sacks. Now you find out your bag is made with potentially harmful lead.
What’s an environmentalist to do? If you’re like Elnora Cooper, nothing.
“I’m not eating the bag . . . and I’m not going to get rid of it,” Cooper, 68, said with a chuckle after walking out of a Wegmans Food Markets store in Rochester recently with a reusable bag under her arm.
The latest in a long line of ominous warnings about potentially dangerous products concerns synthetic but reusable bags that may contain traces of lead. The stir in supermarkets and Congress is less about whether the toxin might rub off on food and more about whether they could accumulate in landfills and create an environmental hazard.
But since the whole point of the bags is that they’re to be kept, not tossed out, and because the concentration of lead in them is so low, some shoppers are convinced there’s little risk of an imminent toxic catastrophe.
“I switched to reusable bags six or seven years ago to keep plastic out of landfills,” said Cooper, a retired nurse. “I’ll keep using the one with the lead, truthfully, before I start using plastic again.”
The Rochester based Wegmans chain of 77 stores in several Eastern states halted sales of two styles of reusable bags in September after tests by a local environmental group found they contained potentially unsafe levels of lead. Wegmans said there’s no evidence the 750,000 bags nike air max 95 it sold pose a health threat.
“The eventual disposal of the bags is the only issue, from nike air max 95 an environmental perspective,” said spokeswoman Jo Natale, urging customers to return the bags for replacement when they’re no longer useful.
The company, which has sold an estimated 4.5 million reusable bags at its stores in five states, has not decided yet how it will dispose of returned bags.
Lead can cause learning disabilities in children and fertility problems in adults if ingested.
A recent investigation by The Tampa Tribune found excessive amounts of lead in reusable bags bought at Winn Dixie and other major r nike air max 95 etailers. The lead appears to be in a form that’s not easily extracted or “leached” out.
Wegmans’ Chinese made “green pea” and “holiday 2009″ bags had lead levels seven to eight times higher than allowed under New York state packaging regulations.