Tests show most reusable shopping bags safe
Tests done on reusable shopping bags in Washington showed that most are within state limits for heavy metals.
SPOKANE — Tests done on reusable shopping bags in Washington showed that most are within state limits for heavy metals.
Thirty-one reusable bags from name-brand retailers were tested in the state and in Iowa. In Washington, the liner in a Sears bag and a wine carrier for Western Washington grocer Top Foods exceeded lead limits of 100 parts per million. In Iowa, the insert in one reusable bag failed to meet the threshold for heavy metals.
Reusable bags from Walgreens, Kmart and QFC tested within the limits.
Top Foods immediately pulled the wine carriers, said Kathy Davis, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology's hazardous- and toxic-waste reduction program. Sears also committed to pulling its bags, only 3,000 of which were in circulation, Davis said.
The testing was done to allay consumer concerns about reusable bags. Pigments for red, orange and yellow paints can contain heavy metals.
Washington teamed up with Iowa to do the testing because Iowa has an X-ray fluorescence instrument that screened the bags for cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium. After the initial tests, the bags that failed were sent for additional testing.
Washington is one of 19 states with a model toxics-packaging law.
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