From The Los Angeles Times, “Reusable bags found to be dirty“:
Nearly every bag examined for bacteria by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found whopping amounts of bugs. Coliform bacteria, suggesting raw-meat or uncooked-food contamination, was in half of the bags, and E. coli was found in 12 percent of the bags.
Running the bags through a washer or cleaning them by hand reduced bacteria levels to almost nothing, the study reported, but nearly all shoppers questioned said they do not regularly, if ever, wash their reusable bags. About a third said they also used their food-shopping bags to haul around non-food items.
The study was funded by the American Chemistry Council amid debate over a California bill that would ban single-use plastic bags. The council is opposed to that measure.
Guess we were ahead of the curve. A year ago July, after the D.C. City Council taxed plastic bags, we joked: “Thankfully, we’ve found a great source of reusable bags, piles of them discarded in the alley right behind the Municipal Diphtheria Clinic.”
Of course, the obvious solution to the contaminated-bag question is a technological one: The imbedding of anti-microbial nano-silver particles in all grocery bags. EPA is stepping up its oversight, enforcement, involvement, and scolding of nanotechnology under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The technology’s mandatory use in all grocery bags is clearly called for. (At least for bags sold into interstate commerce.)
We’re pleased, as well, that California state lawmakers are engaged in this important issue, the banning of plastic bags. Obviously the state legislature has a clear sense of the state’s most pressing priorities.