Study Finds Lead in Shopping Bags

Solid-colored shopping bags might pose risks to public health, new report states

By on December 19th, 2012 09:20 GMT

According to a new report made public by Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, solid-colored shopping bags might pose significant threats to public health as a result of their containing amounts of led that do not really see eye to eye with state regulations concerning this chemical compound.

Said organization, whose working agenda revolves around monitoring the chemical composition of various items prior to their being sent to landfill, argues that, following their screening 125 single-use shopping bags, they found that the inks used to color them contained various doses of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium.

Of these 125 bags, three (two yellow and one red) had a lead concentration of 1% of their total weight. As the specialists who looked into this issue explain, having this much lead in the chemical make-up of a shopping bag goes against state laws.

Although it may be true that having one such lead-tainted bag around stands little chances of causing serious issues, the fact remains that shopping bags are almost never produced on a small scale.

One of these lead-tainted bag was manufactured in the US, whereas the other two did not display their country of origin.

Environmental Leader
quotes Alex Stone, a specialist presently working with the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, who wished to draw attention to the fact that, “This means that for every 100 pounds of these shopping bags, we're introducing about 1 pound of lead into commerce.”

“These bags ultimately end up in our incinerators, landfills, or recycling streams. Lead is considered a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin. It's a metal and isn't destroyed, but only accumulates,” Alex Stone went on to add.

Still, this research also brought forth some positive news: some of the shopping bags manufacturers that failed these tests back in 2007 now passed them with flying colors, which means that efforts are being made to improve on the ecological footprint of the packaging industry.

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