January 31st, 2011

Lead Lurking in Reusable Bags

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Reusable bags fill many car trunks, swing from the arms of environmentally savvy shoppers and can be seen in countless shopping carts exiting local supermarkets.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colors; displaying advertisements and statements supporting eco-conscious choices.

But the bags and their makers have recently been confronted with an ironic problem-many have been found to contain lead.


The non-woven polypropylene bags that are sold by most retailers and complimentary from others encourage patrons to steer clear of  plastic bags. GREAT. But studies have shown some reusable bags contain lead. Another study was released last week showing more reusable shopping bags contain excessive levels of lead.   Health experts have found any exposure to lead can be dangerous.


Take these few simple steps to take to make sure your reusable shopping bags are safe to use:

  1. Check to see if your reusables have been recalled due to lead contamination. Visit the stores website or go to the Center for Consumer Freedom’s website to see if your bag was one of the brands tested.
  2. A few stores have voluntarily recalled their bags: CVS, Lululemon Athletica, Sears-Canada, and Wegmans have all recalled bags due to high levels of lead. Check on the stores website to see if you have one of these bags and return your bags to the stores for a replacement.

    Photo used under Creative Commons from Magdogs

  3. In the study often it was the bags’ inserts at the bottom of the bag that contained the high lead levels. Pull those inserts out and throw them away.
  4. Wash your bags regularly-yes, they can be washed.
  5. Use nylon reusable bags such as BAGGU
    or Envirosax that are lead free and can be folded away in a convenient pouch for storage. These fit easily into a backpack or pocketbook.
  6. Try a cloth tote such as The Planet Bag Set of Six (6) , made out of 100% cotton with no harmful dyes or bleach.
  7. Buy your reusable bags from a reputable source such as Reuseit.com.

Where do you get your reusable bags?

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*Disclosure: If you buy any of the bags through the Amazon links  it will put a few pennies in my pocket-thanks!

**Top photo used under Creative Commons from lululemon athletica

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