The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has opened an official probe into reusable grocery bags, following a reports that found retailers are selling bags containing elevated levels of lead. It appears that reusable grocery shopping bags are friendly to the environment, but not so friendly to your health.
Bags sold at major retailers such as: Wegmans, Winn-Dixie, Trader Joe’s, CVS Pharmacy, Wholefoods, and many others showed levels of lead that alarmed health advocates and could require special handling before ultimately being thrown out and put into landfills. Generally, plainer bags with no illustrations had almost no lead.
Concerns over the risks have proliferated in the past few weeks so much that Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency to investigate the issue.
Following Senator Schumer’s request, officials from the FDA’s food safety group started gathering information on tests of reusable grocery bags. An FDA spokesperson confirmed they’re looking into the matter.
Reusable bags have are losing popularity amid charges that they become hothouses for bacteria. The recent studies, conducted by the non government groups, found that the lead in some bags would pose a long-term risk of seeping into groundwater after disposal; over time, however, paint from the bag could flake off and come into contact with food you carry in the bag.