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Opponents of Plastic Bag Ban Say Reusable Bags Can Pose a Health Risk

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Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr
The plastic bag industry has stepped up in the fight against Assemblywoman Julia Brownley’s ban on plastic bags, which is currently making its way through Sacramento. The American Chemical Council, whose members include prominent plastic bag manufactures, has sponsored a study to test the cleanliness of the reusable bags that will replace plastic bags, according to the Pasadena Star News.

Researchers at Loma Linda University and the University of Arizona in Tucson found bacteria on the reusable bags that may contaminate the food it holds if not properly washed.

Ryan G. Sinclair, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said that about 95 percent of reusable shopping bag owners said they have never washed their bag.

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Sinclair also noted that although there has not been a case of food contamination due to an unwashed reusable bag, it does not mean it cannot happen.

Taking the debate in another direction, Tim Shestek Senior of the American Chemistry Council also pointed out that the bill would put about “500 good-paying jobs at risk, but there is some dispute over numbers of the actual affect of the proposed bill.

Shestek claimed that the plastic bag fee would amount to a $1 billion tax on grocery bills while Joe Ridout, spokesperson for San Francisco-based Consumer Action, disputed the number pointing out that the costs for the bags are imbedded in the price the consumers pay, notes the paper.

Supporters of the bill also combat the opposition by promising to install an educational component to promote cleanliness and awareness.

Previously on LAist:
- How to be Plastic Bag Free
- Ban on Plastic Bags Approved by California Assembly
- Support for Bill to Ban Plastic Bags Continues to Grow
- California One Step Closer to Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags
-One Week Left to Pass Ban on Plastic Bags
- Will California Ban Plastic Bags?
- California Plastic Bag Ban Approved by Senate Environment Committee