So you may notice I’m often using paper bags at the grocery store these days. There are many reasons. First might be that I may have left my bags at home. I have a couple of bags that I leave in purse but I have to wash them. Right? Of course I do. Our local news station, KSL, wanted to see what exactly was inside people’s reusable bags. They set up a makeshift science lab outside a local grocery store and stopped dozens of shoppers over the course of two days. Using sterile gloves and sponges, they swabbed the insides and handles of their bags. Then the researchers stuffed the sponges into test tubes and took them to ALS Laboratory in Taylorsville, Utah where the professionals could give the germs they had collected a little more room to grow. Of the 89 bags sampled, 99 percent had major growths of coliform bacteria and at least 50 percent had too much bacteria to count. So gross! So of course make sure you are washing your bags that you are using often.
Also I don’t have as many bags as I used to. A number of my bags have gone away, unfortunately into the landfill. Why? Lead. Lead found in some reusable grocery bags is raising concerns that the toxin could pose environmental or health concerns to consumers. Retailers already are taking action. Publix Super Markets and Winn-Dixie are asking suppliers to make reusable bags with less lead, according to Schumer. Wegmans Food Market in September said it was halting sales of some bags. Wegmans is a 77-store chain with supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
So with that in mind, and the fact that some of these bags are going to wash up well, I have gone to the easy bags that roll up into my purse, wash well and have no lead. That means I may often have to use paper at the store, and get charged a few cents for doing so, but knowing there is no EColi merging with my produce having used a bag for meat last week, and knowing that I won’t have to worry about the fertility issues that lead poses by using the other bags make me feel better about my choices.