The Liberals just lost our vote. We just read that part of the Liberal platform rolled out today is a commitment to ban plastic bags in grocery stores in the province. If one thinks that the policy wonks have done their homework before they ink these gems, think again. Of course it seems like a no brainer and one that will get Brownie points with the green set but, as with so many things, a little investigation is always advisable.
On this issue, the Liberals may get asked some hard questions. Like — “Will forcing people to use reusable bags be a public health time bomb just waiting to blow up in your face?”
A microbiological study — a first in North America — of the popular, eco-friendly bags has uncovered some unsettling facts. Swab-testing by two independent laboratories found unacceptably high levels of bacterial, yeast, mold and coliform counts in the reusable bags.
“The main risk is food poisoning,” Dr. Richard Summerbell, research director at Toronto-based Sporometrics and former chief of medical mycology for the Ontario Ministry of Health, stated in a news release. Dr. Summerbell evaluated the study results.
“But other significant risks include skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections,” he stated. [emph ours]
Yes, that’s right. It’s just common sense really. And to fix the problem means not only more effort but extra materials which will negate the whole purpose behind reusing bags in the first place.
“The presence of faecal material in some of the reusable bags is particularly concerning,” Dr. Summerbell stated. “All meat products should be individually wrapped before being placed in a reusable bag to prevent against leakage. This should become a mandated safety standard across the entire grocery industry.”
So more plastic to use less plastic. AND wash your bags! With bleach! That’s so environmental. More water for one thing.
Read the rest here. The study’s conclusions are serious.
If the Liberals ban bags we, in NS, won’t even have the choice of buying plastic bags. It would make more sense to ban them in every other store BUT grocery stores.
We know that some people will dismiss this study because, although the testing was done by TWO independent laboratories, it was funded by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council, a committee of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association. But you know what? We think they will also be more careful with those reusable bags.