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Jennifer Chait

Organic Retailers - Make Sure Reusable Shopping Bags are Lead Free

By December 22, 2010

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As you've likely heard, back in November, lead was found in some reusable grocery bags from various retailers and grocers. The bags found to contain lead did contain very small amounts. However, the verdict is still out on safe lead exposure, and many studies note that there is no safe level of lead, so this news has some consumers worried.

As a retailer, if it concerns consumers, it should concern you. Also, as an organic retailer, it'd be surprising if your store didn't offer some sort of reusable bag. With this in mind, how can you make sure your reusable bags are free from lead?

  • The lead was found in cheap, reusable bags made with plastic materials bags - i.e. bags made with polypropylene [number 5 plastic]. If your store carries cloth bags, you're in the clear.
  • Make sure you buy your bags from a reputable seller - note that American made bags may be less likely to have lead, but for sure that's not 100%. American made products can have recalls and problems as well.
  • Validate vendor testing. Any bag vendor you purchase bags from should be using an accredited third-party lab for safety testing, and be able to prove this via paperwork on demand.

See four more ways to make sure your bags are lead-free.

It's also wise to post consumer information about your reusable bag safety. Consumers may not know that your bags are safe, which means fewer customers will use reusable bags, thus raising your plastic and paper bag costs, plus that's not very eco-friendly. Reassurance in the form of a basic sign can go far.

Image Sophia Winters - Fotolia.com


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