Schumer wants federal probe of reusable bags

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer has sounded the alarm on what appears to be an environmentalist's nightmare: Some "Earth-friendly" reusable grocery bags contain dangerous levels of lead.

The Tampa Tribune tested bags sold by grocery chains Winn-Dixie, Publix and Wegmans and found that many of the bags had levels of lead that the federal government would say were too high for toys. Wegmans stopped selling the bags in September over lead concerns.

Schumer has asked three federal regulatory agencies to investigate the issue.

The bags with the most elaborate designs tended to have the highest concentrations of lead. One toxicity expert said he recommended shoppers use paper bags, since they are easily recyclable and safe.

Several municipalities have adopted grocery bag taxes to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags.

(Photo: AP)