Posted by: conservativecritic | January 20, 2013

Plastic Bag Ban Endangers Health(welcome to another of our popular blogs – comments are welcome)


The ban on plastic grocery bags enacted in San Francisco and several other California communities has an unexpected side effect — an increase in food-borne illnesses, emergency room visits, and even deaths.

The culprit: the reusable grocery bags that shoppers use instead, which are breeding grounds for E. coli and other harmful bacteria, according to a new report by university researchers.

San Francisco County enacted a ban on non-compostable plastic bags at large grocery stores and drug stores in 2007, and extended it to all retail establishments in early 2012. Los Angeles followed suit in 2012, as did several other California communities including Malibu and Palo Alto.

The bans were designed to reduce litter and threats to marine life posed by discarded bags, and encourage the use of reusable grocery bags.

But studies “suggest that reusable grocery bags harbor harmful bacteria, the most important of which is E. coli,” say Jonathan Klick, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, and Joshua D. Wright, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law and Department of Economics.

“If individuals fail to clean their reusable bags, these bacteria may lead to contamination of the food transported in the bags. Such contamination has the potential to lead to health problems and even death.”

Tests of randomly selected reusable grocery bags found coliform bacteria in 51 percent of them, and E. coli in 8 percent.

According to the researchers’ report, which was released by the Social Science Research Network, most users did not use separate bags for meats and vegetables, 97 percent said they never washed their bags, and bacteria appeared to grow at a faster rate when the bags were stored in car trunks.

When the researchers analyzed data related to E. coli infections, the results were troubling: “The San Francisco County ban is associated with a statistically significant and particularly large increase in ER visits for E. coli infections,” they said — a rise of at least 25 percent.

In addition, “the San Francisco County ban is associated with a 46 percent increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses.”

Their conclusion: “We find that both deaths and ER visits spiked as soon as the ban went into effect.

“Conservative estimates of the costs and benefits of the San Francisco plastic bag ban suggest the health risks they impose are not likely offset by environmental benefits.”

Now we can add this wonderful environmentalist idea to Solyndra, windmills, expensive solar panels and the spotted owl.

People who are reading this blog are also reading this:…-arab-american/



  1. I just love it when the well intentioned leftist control freaks have their plans backfire in their stupid faces. Go E Coli ….. kill those California eco clowns … more and faster please.

    By the by …. I use reusable bags, but I occasionally wash them and make sure no meat products ‘bleed’ into them.

    Most of those idiots who are getting sick are lazy pigs …. We need a new government agency of clean reusable grocery bags to do search and seizure right in the grocery store parking lots … ya … that ought to do it.

  2. A few fatalities, illness, and loss of freedom is a small price to pay for the satisfaction gained from making an inconsequential gesture to “save the planet”.

  3. I studied Laboratory Science in school. Most people would be shocked at the amount of ‘extraneous matter’ allowable in foods. Processed, to be specific. To this day I still won’t eat certain brands because of what I’ve seen and tested. As such, their cleanliness is magnificent compared to fresh foods. Seeing as how signs are posted at grocery stores to wash all produce it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the study found what it did. Add to the mix meat and a bit of sugar from… oh, just about any foodstuff today,,, and what do you get? Petridishville.

    Go figure.

  4. And another wee fact….PLASTIC bags degrade in landfills FASTER than paper!! As to the re-usable bag,they work great,if you treat them like clothes and wash the darn things every now and then.

  5. Check out my Word Press blog:
    On my blog I have a “Documents” menu item. If you click on that there are a number of papers that I have written that can be downloaded, viewed and read. Be informed!
    Our newest paper titled “The Lies, Myths, Half-Truths, and Exaggerations of Bag Ban Proponents” exposes the false ideas about plastic bags propagated by bag ban proponents. To view this article:
    Another paper titled “Bag Bans: Officials Neglect Homework!” talks about how public officials fail to do their due diligence with respect to the plastic bag ban issue. To view this article:
    Another paper is titled “Plastic Bag Alternatives Much More Costly To Consumers” discusses the different bag options available to shoppers and estimates out of pocket costs and includes the value of one’s time to handle bags and wash reusable bags. To view this article:
    Other papers are “What Will A Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Cost Your Community?” and a follow-on article titled “Statewide Bag Ban Would Cost Residents More Than $1 Billion”. These articles discuss and estimate resident costs of the bag ban.
    These and other articles providing different perspectives of a bag ban are available for reading.

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