Reusable-bag ruckus

Lead levels cause concern

Two supermarket chains in the South came under fire recently after a Tampa Tribune investigation found that the grocers’ reusable bags contained alarming amounts of lead, according to The Associated Press.

The paper tested more than a dozen bags from the Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarket chains, and found that some of the bags contained levels of lead that could be hazardous to public health. The lead appears to be a form that is not easily “leeched” out, which means it is less likely to rub off on food and other items. However, the paper noted that the bags could eventually end up in landfills and pose further environmental concerns as they deteriorate.

Publix insists its bags comply with federal laws, and Winn-Dixie has stated the bags are safe to use, but has offered full refunds to concerned customers.

The issue has affected other grocery chains, too. Wegmans, a chain on the Eastern Seaboard, recently exchanged thousands of its reusable bags due to similar concerns.

Lead is a toxin that can cause infertility in adults and learning disabilities in children.