How reusable shopping bags can kill

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • K Mchenry, IL
    Feb. 8, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    There is a corn based disposable bag.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Feb. 8, 2013 5:48 a.m.

    No one has actually died?

    The plastic bags fall apart and are a choking hazard to kids. You can't clear a little patch of plastic off the handle from the throat.

    If the researcher used a reusable bag they would know the check out person puts meat in a plastic bag and then the plastic bag into the reusable bag at most stores. When it's triple wrapped in waxed paper it may go in on it's own but it does not leak.

  • jsantanna San Jose, CA
    Feb. 6, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    There is no quandary for me, I use reusable bags every time I shop and my family hasn't gotten sick yet.

    Plastic bags are banned, and have been, all over the world - in Bangladesh, in many African nations, in over 50 cities in CA alone. Ireland and DC have plastic bag fees, which have greatly increased the number of people using reusable bags. Believe me, we are not all dying of foodborne illness.

    If you read the study, the authors claim to show a spike in food borne illnesses right at the time the SF plastic bag ban was implemented. But correlation does not imply causation. Plus, when these bans are implemented, stores, local governments and NGO's hand out thousands of free, reusable bags. The reusable bags being used in those first few months are probably the cleanest bags ever. Also, who is to say that ANY of those people hospitalized or those who died even used a reusable bag?? Paper bags were (and still are) still available. The numbers in the study are really, really small - they could have all gotten sick due to one outbreak, from spinach or lettuce or some bad chicken.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    Is it really necessary for Micheal DeGroote to be so snarky when he writes about environmental issues? What ever happened to journalist integrity?

    For some apparently really bizarre reason, people in the past were able to use recyclable bags and baskets and not have these issues and people in other countries have been able to reuse bags and baskets without these issues. Why is this so hard for the average American?

    A couple of suggestions:

    If there is a package leaking juices - don't buy it. The product inside it is more susceptible to contamination and more likely to make you sick.

    If you do have products that may leak, place them in plastic bags by themselves.

    Have bags of one color for stuff that is eaten without cooking, bags of another color for items that require cooking, and bags of a third color for items that are not edible.

    Inspect your bags regularly and clean or replace them as needed.

    It really doesn't need to be that difficult people!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 5, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    So wait a second. We are raising an issue because 1) some people are stupid enough not to bag their meat in that little hanging bag found in each meat and produce area? 2) that there are a good number of people who are stupid enough that if they have dripping blood into the bottom of a bag, they don't clean it up.

    Why don't we just ban stupid.

    Lets not confuse basic hygene and with people who have no clue. If they let their bags get nasty, I am willing to assume their are other parts of their housholds (kitchens) that are nasty as well. Are they bleaching cutting surfices at home to kill bacteria there as well? I am willing to bet this is evidence of a bigger problem - not the problem itself.

    And exactly how many incidents of choking were reported with reusable bags - as compared to the throw away versions?

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 5:59 a.m.

    The re-usable shopping bag is the best all around choice. You just have to remember tossing them in the laundry with your other clothes regularly.

    The health risk is about the same as using re-usable shopping CARTS at the supermarket. Yes, the dripping bacteria from the meat from the previous customer may indeed contaminate your own food. And the filthy handles on those carts -- watch out!

    Seriously, cleanliness is really important for many aspects of our everyday lives, from the handles on doors to hand-sets of office phones.

    The problem with paper -- and yes, it literally grows on trees -- is that the trees are worth more in the ground growing, converting CO2 into Oxygen for us to breath, than chopped down for making temporary grocery bags.

    One of our problems is that we're chopping down the rainforests in developoing nations -- the rainforests are literally the "lungs" of the earth -- for fluffy toilet paper. We're literally flushing our rainforests down the toilet, but most folks don't see the connection and the risks that chopping trees down pose for our air, climate, etc., especially for the 2 billion more people coming to earth by 2050.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 5, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    Reusable environmental canvas bags as cleanable is not an attribute of these bags because they are degradable and will dissolve and weaken their structure when washed. They are made from vegetable matter which dissolves and haven for bacterial growth.

    Paper bags are still the most environmentally safe design yet and is my choice of grocery shopping. All plastic bags are carbon based materials that are contradiction of safe to the environment. I think plastic in all forms should be banned as environmentally hazardous. This would eliminate about half the cars on the road as environmentally hazardous and are also toxic and carcinogenic for human use. Materials and chemicals used to make and create plastics are very carcinogenic and makes smoking and cigarette smoke irrelevant to health in comparison.

    Carbon is a natural element that is prolific in every organic and inorganic form and the most dangerous element of the carbon plastic that is non digestible for wild life and ocean life. Organic corn and soybean involve use of petroleum based chemical mixtures to turn them into plastics.

    The trade off has been save trees and sacrifice humans to save the world.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    The answer is to go back to what we had before, paper. Paper is biodegradable and literally "grows on trees". We are always seeking an "alternative" to fossil fuels and petroleum based products when we already have the answer. Paper is reusable, can be recycled, and doesn't hurt the enviroment. Remember the old bumbersticker, "Trees are the answer"? Now we just have to accept the solution.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    Gee. I guess I should be dead.

    I've been using those dangerous re-usable bags for years.

    I just toss 'em in the washing machine about once a month or so.

    But this article actually is supporting the need for more re-usable bags. If bags kill people, we need more of them. Right?

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    Most stores have a recycle bin for the plastic bags. I bunch them up and keep them under my sink and then I take them back to recycle the next time I go. It's not that hard.

  • Another Thought... ,
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    It's a lose-lose proposition. We live in a desert climate here. We waste water on lawns during much of our warmer months. If we start laudering our reusable bags, we are using up a limited resource required for life (H2O). How much energy will it require to launder these bags compared with the production of the plastic bags used by so many others? Either way we lose. We need to find a more viable solution than either of these choices. I am open to suggestions.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Just curious, Hutterite: Are you a climatologist? Or does the armchair-thing only work from one side of an issue?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 4, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    So the takeaway is that adding more non biodegradable material to landfills is a superior choice to having to do anything whatsoever to ensure we use re useable bags safely? You're singing the utah armchair climatologists' song here.