Lead in Your Shopping Bag?

Wegmans, a major grocery store chain in New York and nearby states recently announced that some reusable shopping bags that have been sold in its stores contain lead. Independent testing by the Empire State Consumer Project showed that these bags contain more lead than the standards set by “Toxics in Packaging” laws that many states have passed. Wegmans is now asking shoppers to return those bags if they no longer wish to use them.

Reusable bags have been in the news for other reasons recently; the bags are the subject of a study claiming that they can harbor disease-causing bacteria. Fortunately Consumer Reports exposed this study for what is: another dirty trick by the plastics industry, which is facing several state bills that would ban plastic shopping bags.

High levels of lead in shopping bags is a problem,  although we don’t believe it’s widespread. But we need your help to be sure.

If you’ve recently purchased a reusable shopping bag and are willing to send it to us, we’d like to test it for lead. The kinds of bags we’re interested in testing are the kinds with a colorful printed design that covers most of the bag.  Usually the inside of the bag is white. Many reusable bags are a solid color with a simple logo on them; those ones don’t seem to have lead problems so no need to send them to us.

Send your bag to:

2201 Broadway Suite 302
Oakland CA 94612

Include your e-mail address so we can let you know if we find a problem.

Thanks for your help!

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One Comment

  1. Jim Hirt
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I am the executive director for the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). We represent the 60 U.S. Poison Centers and receive calls from the public 24/7. We are staffed with medical professionals and in order for us to provide medical advice to the public if called regarding the reported lead in these bags. Could we be given the data or the contact for the source of this data on the reported lead? This data is invaluable to help us protect the public. Thank you.