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Good Question: Are reusable bags really dangerous?

It might be your New Year's resolution, to start using reusable grocery bags.

In some areas of the country full page newspaper ads are being taken out warning people about the dangers of them.

Good Question: Are reusable bags really dangerous?

The ad might make you a little nervous, a reusable grocery bag wrapped in police tape, along with a warming that reusable bags can contain lead and harbor bacteria.

Its paid for by a group called Consumer Freedom.

"We're trying to educate consumers about an unintended consequence of a poorly thought out policy," said Justin Wilson of Consumer Freedom.

Environmental groups insist the ads are about something else entirely.

"Its a fear tactic, employed by our opposition," said Emily Utter and environmentalist.

Utter says its no coincidence the ads are popping up now in light of some cities banning plastic bags all together.

"Plastic bags are a $250 billion industry here in California, so clearly plastic bag makers are concerned," said Utter.

What about the claims that reusable bags can be dangerous?

The Environmental Working Group in California took 10 reusable bags and tested for lead.

One of the 10 with more colorful plastic coating did have higher than acceptable levels of lead, but experts say there is no need to panic.

The say they have tested a variety of supermarket bags and almost all of them came back lead free.

And what about the other claim that bacteria thrive in these bags?

"Everyone knows when you reach for a package of meat or chicken breast, they are dripping, grocery stores can't figure out how to seal those up," said Wilson.

The ad says a study of 84 reusable bags found bacteria in most of them, but it also found washing your bag eliminates virtually all the bacteria.

That study was paid for by the American Chemistry Council an organization that represents the plastic bag industry.

Experts say canvas bags are less likely to contain questionable materials.


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