Greenwashing Backfies! "Eco-Friendly" Reusable Grocery Bags Are Loaded With Germs!
7-10-2009 8:10 am
Last year I penned a column about "Greenwashing" where I highlighted companies like Whole Food Markets who, undoubtedly using survey data showing that some consumers really want to try to be more conscious of the environment and our ecology in their day to day living, promote themselves as being "green" through gimmicks.
In the case of Whole Foods, I lambasted them for their move from regular plastic grocery bags to new "reusable" cloth bags - since there was plenty of scientific data out there to show that this did not achieve real gains in terms of being more conscious of the environment, but certainly made potential Whole Foods customers "feel good" - which was their intention.
I have been meaning to circle back around to this topic again ever since I read about a new study out of Canada out about those "eco-friendly" reusable bags... Guess what? They can make you sick - literally!
According to this study (check it out here), swab testing by two independent laboratories found unacceptably high levels of bacterial yeast and mold in the bags. The presence of these germ-producing substances, of course, can lead to FOOD POISONING. Nice.
But wait, there's more. The study shows that other significant risks from dirty re-usable "eco-bags" include skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections. Just swell!
The study found that 64% of the reusable bags tested were contaminated with some level of bacteria and close to 30% had elevated bacterial counts higher than what's considered safe for drinking water.
I dropped into my local Whole Foods and looked around for any disclaimers telling me that these bags are supposed to help the environment, but at the expense of the personal health of my family! (You guessed it, I didn't find such a warning anywhere.)
But I thought, based on the conclusions of the study, which you can find (along with other less-than-savory information about what happens when you re-use bags that contain food over-and-over) at the appropriately named nastysack.com website, that I would suggest some wording for a sign that Whole Foods might put next to their bags:
While I pick on Whole Foods a lot in this column, but the reality is that any store that sells food and is encouraging you to put it into cloth bags that they want you to use over and over again are endangering you and your family.
The moral of this story is that using "eco-bags" might make you feel good the first time you use them - but they can quite literally make you very sick in the long run.
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