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Lead in reusable grocery bags

Original post made by svatoid on Jan 28, 2011

This article was in SF Chronicle the other day:

Web Link
"Two separate studies have found elevated lead levels in reusable bags sold at major grocery and drugstore chains, further muddying the debate over the environmental, economic and public health impacts of the totes used by millions."

I would be interested in hearing some comments from those people (Kishimoto, Drekmeier, Klein et al) that have pushed phasing out plastic and paper bags usage.

Is this another example of our "leaders" filtering everything through their narrow "green" funnels? Another example is the push for "zero waste" without thinking about the cost of having less garbage:
Web Link
"The council adopted the rate increase as part of a package of proposals designed to close a $6.2 million deficit in the refuse fund. The deficit was caused in large part by the city's successful "Zero Waste" campaign, which has resulted in 74 percent of the city's waste being diverted from landfills. "


Comments (14)

Posted by cotton, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

Use cotton shopping bags, not those low-end vinyl bags.


Posted by Shopper, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

What really bothers me is the state that some of the reusable bags become. Have you noticed just how many clerks and baggers are wearing plastic gloves because they don't like having to handle the bags that customers give them to put their groceries in. And those gloves which could have been contaminated by the previous customer's bags are now handling the groceries that you are taking home.

I can wash my own reusable bags but I can't prevent my bagger from touching the dirty reusable bag from the previous customer, and then getting that contamination on mine.

We wouldn't like to use someone else's used paper towel, but we have to put up with someone else's dirty grocery bag.


Posted by Holy COW !!!!, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

When paranoia runs high:

The shopping cart you use next must have been used by some previous bad mannered person with a runny nose ...


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:18 am

All I can do is laugh. The older I get, the more absurdities I see in the left-wing laws.

Ban mercury thermometers..BAD FOR ENVIRONMENT....can't have one per house that breaks every 10 years, can we? Oh, but in the name of the environment, I now have to have 30 lightbulbs, each with more mercury in them than the old thermometers, in my home..and when they break I have to be a hazmat expert. Let's see...one thermometer used rarely, 30 lightbulbs used daily and changed yearly..which is worse?

BAN PLASTIC BAGS!!! Oops..turns out that there isn't a Texas sized plastic morass floating around in the ocean..in fact, Web Link turns out that a researcher LOOKING for it had to tow a net through the waters for hours to catch a few small bits ...

So, what does the left do? Make it worse..let's dump lead into the garbage dumps.


Next: BAN CARS THAT USE GASOLINE!! oops..turns out those battery operated, recharging cars are worse than the gasoline. Even the most left-leaning person is now acknowldging that..well,..CO2 is not a poison, and in fact our plant life needs it.and in fact mankind's contribution to all the greenhouse gases is less than .01% and doesn't affect any thing in climate at all. But, no matter!!! Off we go to force cars to rechharge with electricity, which uses COAL, and to dump dead batteries, which are full of horrible chemicals, into landfills. How good will that be for the environment? I laugh every time I see a hybrid or a tesla on the road..I can only think of PT Barnum's assertion that there is a sucker born every minute.

The list is longer than this, but the bottom line? Don't base policies and laws on emotion, base them on facts, real facts, and real analysis. There has to be a real cost-benefit analysis of each action we take.


Posted by Hg, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

"I now have to have 30 lightbulbs, each with more mercury in them than the old thermometers"

Not true. Typical CFL lightbulbs contain less than 1/100th the amount of mercury as an old mercury thermometer.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

Hg: You are correct. I was wrong. It takes about 100 CFLs to equal one thermometer. Thanks for correcting me. I dislike hyperbole greatly, and didn't intend to engage in it.

So, to revise the point, this looks like every 3 years, assuming a replacement of each lightbulb yearly, my home will toss out one mercury thermometer's worth of mercury, not each lightbulb.

In 40 years of having a glass thermometer, I broke one..

My point remains, that I am now contributing more mercury to our environment than I was before, especially because I need more of those darn CFLs to light my home than i did of the incandescents.


Posted by pares, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

Perspective I find your post very funny and right on! But it looks like all this "climate change" scare isn't really about the environment. It's about politics and growing govt. Most of us really care about the environment and cleaning it up as much as possible. But the more the "global warming" believers push their agenda the clearer it becomes it's about changing our society to socialism, meaning more govt control and oversight in our lives. Right now it may seem funny -- I have to flush twice because of my green toilet -- but if this continues, it does not bode well for real democracy.


Posted by Shopper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

This is really silly.

I am not worried about lead in reusable grocery bags, but it does strike me as passing on germs.

When I was growing up, my mother used various reusable grocery bags all the time, but groceries were always wrapped up securely in little brown paper parcels, there were no leaks!

Plastic single use bags may be worse for the environment, but they can be reused for all sorts of things if we so choose. We can still choose to use reusable bags also.

It all comes down to perspective. Germs are a problem in grocery stores, haven't you noticed the wipes outside many stores nowadays.

Do you choose to ban something you dispose of as you choose in favor of encouraging germs? Do you value the environment more than the health of your family?

Is this a silly argument or not? I even feel silly for commenting on it. So what about lead in grocery bags?


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

We are still awaiting comments from the "environmental leaders" (the green glasses wearing brigade) in the city.


Posted by pro pollution, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

If the pro-pollution people had been properly disposing of their plastic bags all along, then the ban would not have been necessary. But what do you expect from pro-pollution people.


Posted by No phobias, please, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I don't see what the problem is, except for a chance to rag on those councilpeople. The food that goes into the reusable bag is wrapped in non-permeable wrappings. If you put some fruits or vegetables into it, you have to wash them anyway.
People are becoming so germ phobic, it's ridiculous, just wash your hands more often, that's enough. I have to laugh when I read about people trying to rid their bodies of imaginary "toxins."


Posted by semicolon, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2011 at 5:56 am

Time for a colon cleanse !!


Posted by Shopper, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:06 am

My point; exactly.


Posted by Bill B, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

Good thing I use my safe ChicoBags. I just visited their website: Web Link and learned about their awesome safety program.


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