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Expert Says Banning Plastic Shopping Bags Creates Health Hazard

Chicago the latest city to pass ban on plastic shopping bags
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Reacting to yet another city in America passing a ban on plastic shopping bags, some health experts say it will result in an uptick in health issues – from cockroaches and other insects.

 Following the vote by the Chicago City Council to ban use of the sturdy two-handled plastic shopping bags by 2015,   medical and disease experts say the alternatives actually invite health issues.

 The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) Thursday released a report that included data from several leading Entymologists, or scientists who study bugs for a living.

The two major alternatives to plastic are of course paper bags (made from cardboard) and canvas reusable carriers.

According to the NCPPR,  several leading authorities on the subject say paper bags and canvas attract cockroaches and other disease-carrying insects.  They don’t jump into your bag while you’re loading your groceries.  But in many climates where disease-carrying bugs are more prominent,  paper and canvas bags contain elements that actually attract these bugs.  When they are stacked and stored, as they will be in grocery stores,   these bags provide a desirable environment for bugs to crawl in and lay eggs.

According to the NCPPR report:

 Entymologists, such as Coby Schal of North Carolina State University, have observed that cockroaches prefer paper to plastic. “They really like to live in the creases found in paper bags,” Many cockroach species chew into paper bags to lay their eggs – something they don’t do with plastic.

Canvas bags, because they are rarely ever washed,  are a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and disease.   For those who use them, the NCPPR asks: When was the last time you washed, disinfected, or cleaned that re-usable canvas grocery bag?

Just something to take into account.   While environmentalists claim plastic bags are a huge ecology problem, like many other such “bans” getting rid of plastic bags has created a whole new set of unintended consequences.

Here’s hoping we don’t start to see such bans creeping into our area.


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