Reusable grocery bags contain toxic levels of lead

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Shopping Bag Warning(NaturalHealth365) What do reusable grocery bags, ladies handbags and dental amalgams have in common? They’re all filled with toxic heavy metals. And, although touted as a wonderful way to ‘save the planet’ – these eco-friendly bags actually increase the risk of bacterial infections and lead poisoning.

Going ‘green’ increases your exposure to heavy metals and bacteria

You see most of these reusable bags are produced in China. And, don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of earth-friendly products – but do we really need to buy bags laced with heavy metals to save the Earth? I find it hard to believe that we can’t develop a bag that’s free of toxins.

In a research project conducted by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University, “large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half. Escherichia coli were identified in 12% of the bags and a wide range of enteric bacteria, including several opportunistic pathogens.” The lesson is quite simple – if you’re going to use a reusable bag – be sure to keep them clean. And, separate animal foods from your vegetables – to avoid cross-contamination.

Are reusable bags really earth-friendly?

These bags are made of a mixture of toxic materials – which can’t be recycled and will eventually end up in landfills, unlike plastic grocery bags which are fully recyclable. I’m not a fan of plastic bags – but this fact alone makes me wonder about the value of reusable bags. Not to mention, these lead-laced bags pollute the groundwater – as the waste buildup.

Colorful bags pose the greatest health risk

Most of the bags, in question, are made out of polypropylene plastic by the same companies that continue to use heavy metal dyes – which use toxic metals like, cadmium and lead along with other lead based materials. Unfortunately, the canvas reusable bags are also manufactured in China and have been found to contain lead.

And talk about a waste of precious resources, reusable bags are primarily produced in China and imported to the United States and Europe – on cargo ships – which burn millions of gallons of dirty low-grade fuel oil. Surely, I believe, each country can come up with a better solution for carrying groceries.

Are you washing your reusable grocery bag?

Make no mistake about it – these bags are non-sterile and provide a fertile environment for the growth of bacteria and spores. This is because the foods placed in the bag are often poorly packaged and leakage occurs. In addition, there are times when the outer wrappings of food contain things like e-coli and other bacteria.

Reusable bags tested positive for E. coli, salmonella and coliform bacteria, according to studies by Loma Linda University and the University of Arizona. Remember, your groceries are at higher risk for contamination when left in warm places for too long – like the car. Interested to note, the number of bacteria found on bags jumped 10-fold on bags stored in the trunks of cars for two hours or more.

Are health-conscious consumers asking the right questions?

Stores shouldn’t be let off the hook due to ignorance, especially stores selling health food and food related products. A British Columbia T.V. station tested Whole Foods bags and found lead in very high amounts. In fact, compared to other companies, they found the highest levels of lead in Whole Foods bags, with 49 parts per million in the cloth and more than 1,000 parts per million in the logo.

Other offenders included Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Safeway, Giant and Rite-Aid. And, that’s not all, even upscale stores selling ‘trendy’ reusable bags were selling toxic lead to unsuspecting consumers. The bags with bright yellow and green logos were the ones with the most lead and cadmium.

I don’t have all the answers – but I think we, as consumers, have a right to know. Maybe, if enough people demand it, we can get a few companies to produce a durable (chemical-free) bag – that washes easily after every usage. What’s your opinion? Post your comments below.

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Jonathan LandsmanAbout the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.


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  • Charlene

    Sounds like paper bags are the way to go!

  • lanie

    Wow! I am not touching reusable bags again.
    I can’t believe how many times I used that lead contaminated whole foods bag.

  • Wendy

    What a study in irony! In their haste to go “green” government has gone nuts! Once again poisoning the populace with lead-laced grocery bags. And another thing, I am so sick of all the crap made in China! When I was growing up, all the good stuff was made in Japan! And still is if you ask me. China is producing thousands if not millions of defective and dangerous “products.” It’s time to buy American, or at least not crap from China.

  • Jess

    Every thing is made in China. Tell me .. what can you buy that isn’t made in another country?

  • PBJ

    Is that why I’ve gotten psoriasis on the palms of my hands from handleing these grossly moldy, germy and now lead infused cloth (eco-friendly) bags while I work as a grocery checker. I want to quit so badly.