Sunday, November 21, 2010

For Lead-free Shopping Bags, choose organic or recycled cloth, not plastic.

Shopping with reusable bags, and not taking disposable bags, is one of the greenest little things you can do, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But last week, reusable bags were dealt a p.r. blow when brain-damaging lead was found in plastic models sold by some CVS, Winn-Dixie and Publix stores. Tests of the shopping bags found the neurotoxic heavy metal to be present "potentially unsafe levels," The New York Times reported . Note: When it comes to children's health, there is no safe level of lead, which collects in the body and causes irreversible developmental harm.

The Tampa Tribune, which paid for some of the tests, warned that the lead content could qualify the bags as hazardous waste Wegman's recalled its own reusable bags due to lead in September of this year.

The recycled-plastic bags are made in China, which also produces lead-contaminated toys , millions, but not all, of which are recalled every year. Because so much lead in paint, ink and plastic goes undetected in consumer products, it's a good idea to treat any plastic bag--reusable or disposable--with caution, especially if it's worn and crumbling, and/or ink is flaking off.

An easy solution: Choose totes made from certified organic or recycled fiber, like these organic cotton bags from Mimi the Sardine. Both from Oliveand .

Do try to avoid vinyl (PVC #3) lunch boxes, bags, toys, shower curtains, raincoats, lunch pails and other products, because PVC plastic is often made with lead and toxic phthalates.


Gail's Scoop said...

Another thing I hadn't given much thought to. We always use reusable bags at the market but never really thought about what they are made of or where they come from. Thanks for the insight. We will be sharing this info with the Gail's Scoop readers.

Anonymous said...

That's so interesting about also avoiding vinyl shower curtains.... I never ever thought about examining the lead content of my $3 target vinyl shower curtain....