I can just see people throwing away their cheap grocery bags (mostly made in China where the standards for quality control has been under fire for many years now) and going back to their old ways of using single use grocery bags. After the recent TEDx GreatPacificGarbagePatch talk on trying to empower people to refuse single use plastic grocery bags and reduce plastic consumption, this latest news comes as a blow.
DO NOT THROW AWAY THE REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS!!!
Most of the reusable grocery bags are safe. The Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for safe levels of lead is 90 ppm. If you are not sure if your bag exceeds that level, contact the company that issued the bags.
I contacted Wegman’s grocery store – because I own a few and the company announced that they recalled some of the styles. – and received an answer within hours. According to their website, only two styles - the PeaPod design and 2009 Holiday designs are being recalled and you should return them for a refund or exchange, just because of the disposal issue and not because of food safety issue.
And although Walmart and Target bags meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards, Ecology.com thinks that those levels should re-evaluated, according to clickondetroit.com
Furthermore, Tampa Bay Online reported that two of Florida’s giant grocery stores, Winn-Dixie and Publix, have two bags that they have found to have exceeded levels of lead. The most intricate designs with many colors seem to have high lead content, although, lead will not “rub off” onto the foods in contact. The problem arises when the fibers become loose with many usage, and that may become a problem. The bag on the left from Winn-Dixie contained 117 ppm and the bag on the right from Publix contained 194 ppm. Any level of more than 90 ppm is considered dangerous, as mentioned above.
The latest grocery store to pull reusable grocery bags in my area is King Kullen in Long Island, NY. I’ve contacted them to elaborate on the story to see if they are recalling all the bags or if there are certain styles. I am waiting on their response. (See below for the e-mail response from King Kullen)
Meanwhile, do not go back to single use plastic grocery bags. If you are not sure about the ones you already own, as I said before, contact the company. If you are not confident about using the reusable bags that stores sell, buy cotton canvas types like this one from ChuckaStone
Or t-shirt bags, like this one from fashiongreentbags.
Or make your own, as I showed you on my recent tutorial.
Whatever you use, please do not use single use plastic grocery bags.
The turtle thanks you.
Added note: Joseph Brown, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at King Kullen e-mailed me this morning and said in his e-mail,
We fully expect to put the bags out for sale. When we began selling these bags a few years ago we searched for a company that focused on safety and compliance. We are confident our bags exceed all requirements and are safe for humans and our environment. All printing on the bags are water based, not metallic based.
We are awaiting for written confirmation on a current test results before we put them back out for sale.
We will refund any customer that wishes to return any bag they purchased from us.
Joseph W. Brown
Vice President Sales and Merchandising
King Kullen Grocery Co., Inc