Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reusable Shopping Bags Are Bad for Your Health

Many environmentally-aware citizens have taken to carrying their groceries in reusable shopping bags.

Anything to save the planet.

Now, it turns out that these bags can make you sick. Those hemp shopping bags, the ones that identify you as a member in good standing of a nature cult, are breeding grounds for the nastiest bacteria.

Mike Rosenwald reports on the research in the Washington Post.

In his words: “The researchers collected reusable shopping bags from shoppers entering grocery stores in Arizona and California, and they found that A) ‘reusable bags are seldom if ever washed and often used for multiple purposes’ and B) ‘Large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags.’

“Wowsers, I thought. We’re talking e. coli. We’re talking coliform. We’re talking, as the researchers put it, ‘several opportunistic pathogens.’

“I told you this was important. Your bags can cross-contaminate your food. They are menacing vessels of grossness!”

Rosenwald does not want to be too pessimistic about this. If you insist on saving the planet you can still use reusable shopping bags.  But only as long as you wash them, presumably each time you use them.

Still and all, how many people are really going to wash out those reusable bags each and every time one of them is exposed to foodstuff?

This means that we are all facing a difficult choice: save the planet or protect your health.

I, for one, vote for plastic.

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