Several major food and merchandise retailers have already pulled or plan to pull their reusable shopping bags off their shelves. The action comes after laboratory tests found potentially dangerous levels of lead in the bags. The bags are sold as a greener alternative to disposable “paper or plastic” bags provided at major stores. Of the 71 bags tested from 44 major retailers, tests found that reusable bags from 21 major chains contained lead levels above 100 parts per million–the maximum permitted by many states.
For example potentially harmful lead levels were found in select bags from Safeway, Walgreens, CVS (CVS recalled the bags in question in November) and other chains. Disney-themed Safeway bags contained levels 15 times higher than federal limits, according to USA Today.
The strongest lead concentrations were found in the bottom liners used in the non-woven polypropylene bags and it is recommended that you remove the insert from reusable shopping bags that you continue to carry.
See a list of tested bags at www.consumerfreedom.com the organization that led the research on the bags.
My Green Mind recommends the use of either corn based grocery and produce bags or the European net style cotton shopping bags as an alternative to polypropylene bags. Because we believe in full disclosure, we sell both corn based and cotton grocery shopping bags, but our recommendation is based on a concern for the reported exposure to high concentrations of lead.