Your Reusable Bag Could Make You Sick

While we'll all ultimately benefit from ridding the world of petroleum-based plastic bags, a new study shows that reusable shopping bags could pose another kind of health risk.

The study commissioned by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC), a Canadian Plastics Industry committee, found in independent testing that the use of unclean reusable bags contain high levels of mold and bacteria. Findings included:

  • Sixty four percent of the tested reusable bags were contaminated with some level of bacteria and nearly
  • 30 percent had bacterial counts higher than what is considered safe for drinking water.
  • Forty percent of the bags contained the presence of yeast or mold.
  • Some of the sampled bags contained unsafe levels of coliforms and fecal intestinal bacteria.

While the study was conducted by independent laboratories, it was funded by what is clearly a biased group of plastic industry insiders. Regardless, the results make sense. Who hasn't simply dropped in a meat package or spilled something in their reusable tote and forgotten to wash it afterwards?

The best way to mitigate the health risks is to wash your cloth reusable bags regularly and keep a dedicated reusable, wipe-able bag for meats – no need to switch back to disposable plastics!

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