‘Senate Democrats’ desperate need to be green is unclean during the coronavirus outbreak…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Paper grocery bags kill trees, and plastic shopping bags are as bad for the environment as they are for sea turtles, according to environmentalists and climate conscious government officials.
Their solution has been to ban paper-or-plastic in favor of sustainable, reusable tote bags.
But it turns out grocery tote bags have their own drawback. While sustaining the transport of consumer purchased food items, they can also sustain coronavirus, flu viruses and bacterial diseases—and they can even spread them throughout a store.
Researchers have been warning about the public-health issue for years, often in the face of draconian blue-state “green” laws.
Earlier this month, for example, New York state implemented a new law banning single-use shopping bags in most retail businesses after a previous attempt to impose a 5-cent fee per traditional bag failed in New York City.
Critics have long pointed to the futility of banning plastic bags as a way to improve the environment, and amid the recent coronavirus panic others are blasting the imposition of germ-carrying tote bags on the public.
“Senate Democrats’ desperate need to be green is unclean during the coronavirus outbreak,” said John Flanagan, the Republican leader of the New York State Senate.
Multiple scientific studies support Flanagan’s position, and they were recently compiled by the City Journal, a public-policy magazine produced the Manhattan Institute, a New York City-based think tank.
“The COVID-19 virus is just one of many pathogens that shoppers can spread unless they wash the bags regularly, which few people bother to do,” author John Tierney wrote. “Viruses and bacteria can survive in the tote bags up to nine days, according to one study of Coronaviruses.”
That study was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection in February, and was actually an analysis of several dozen previously published papers on human coronaviruses, indicating that the transmission risks of “environmentally-friendly” tote bags were well-known.
A 2018 study in the Journal of Environmental Health involved sending shoppers into several California grocery stores. Each shopper in the experiment carried a reusable plastic tote bag, which researchers sprayed with a “harmless surrogate of a virus” before the shoppers bought groceries.
The results were shocking. Not only was the surrogate found on the reusable bag after leaving the stores, but high traces were also found on “the hands of the shoppers, the checkout clerks, surfaces touched by the shoppers, packaged foods, unpackaged produce, shopping carts, checkout counters, and payment touchscreens.”
But that’s not all. A 2011 study conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona analyzed the “cross-contamination of food products by reusable bags.” Researchers visited supermarkets in Arizona and California and determined that nearly every single sustainable tote bag contained large amounts of bacteria. In contrast, zero contamination was found in traditional single-use plastic bags.
“Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half of the bags sampled,” said Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona professor and co-author of the study.
In light of severe risks, green policymakers continue to push ahead. The New York state Department of Health insists that reusable grocery bags are a “smart choice,” provided consumers adhere to a list of semi-unreasonable caveats, such as using multiple reusable tote bags for separating different types of purchased foods; putting raw meat, fish and poultry into traditional plastic bags; storing reusable bags in cool, dry places; and not reusing for other purposes.