Lead found in some reusable grocery bags

Jan. 24, 2011 at 9:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A U.S. consumer group says high levels of lead have been found in reusable grocery bags supplied by major retailers.

The Center for Consumer Freedom says of the 44 organizations whose bags were tested, 16 are selling or distributing reusable bags containing lead in amounts greater than 100 parts per million, above the limit many states set for heavy metals in packaging, the CCF Web site reported Monday.

National chains such as CVS, Safeway, Bloom and Walgreens were among those with high levels of lead in their reusable bags, the CCF says.

"Across the country legislators are proposing bills to ban or tax paper and plastic bags, but the unintended consequence of such legislation is that people are using reusable bags, which independent testing shows can often contain excessive levels of lead," CCF Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson says. "As an advocate for consumer choice I believe consumers should have the option of using lead-free plastic and paper bags when they're bringing home their groceries."

The testing focused on bags constructed from "non-woven polypropylene," the most commonly used material in reusable grocery bags, which is typically made in China and can be produced in a variety of ways that either include or exclude toxic heavy metals, the CCF says.

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