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Plastic Bag Bans Aren't Helping us Fight Against Coronavirus

Op-Eds and Articles

Before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, warnings about potential public health consequences of banning single-use plastics in the name of environmental protection fell on deaf ears. But now people are wisely calling on lawmakers in New York, California, and other states and localities to reverse bans and regulations on single-use plastic grocery bags. Reusable bags can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens.

Research shows that reusable bags harbor dangerous microorganisms. In fact, the sanitary nature of single-use plastics is one of the key reasons these products have become so prevalent, in addition to the fact that they require less energy and make less pollution in production than alternatives. Problems related to plastics in the environment can and should be addressed by proper disposal policies and litter control, rather than through policies that undermine public health.

Back in 2011, researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University examined a sample of reusable bags from shoppers and found “large numbers of bacteria,” including dangerous fecal bacteria such as coliform, E. coli, and salmonella. Bacteria was found in 99% of the reusable bags, while no bacteria or viruses were found in a sample of disposable plastic bags and new reusable bags. Bacteria can easily be transferred from leaking meat packages as well as from fruits and vegetables, and the study found it grows in the bags that are stored in car trunks.

Read the full article at The Washington Examiner.