Reused bags may leak toxic levels of lead to food items inside
Grocery chain Publix has asked manufacturers of reusable shopping bags to supply them with less lead following a report by the Tampa Tribune that some bags used by supermarket customers contain excessive amounts of lead.
The newspaper had about a dozen bags tested and the findings showed that lead levels were beyond the prescribed limits. The test results were published on the paper’s website last weekend. The bags came from customers of Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets.
Tampa Tribune said that the type of lead found does not readily leach out, and that new grocery bags may not pose a significant danger to the consumer when the bag’s surface comes into contact with food items inside. But reusing the bags may result to paint flaking and the wear and tear may produce toxic levels of lead. Moreover, these bags can pile up in landfills and significant amounts of lead can eventually go to the soil and bodies of water.
Officials of Publix have said that the company did not violate any law about lead content but requested their bag suppliers to re-examine the bags’ lead levels.
Lead is classified as a toxic chemical and implicated in reproductive system problems and learning disabilities among kids.
Another retailer, Wegmans Food Markets, has recently replaced their grocery bags because of the same concerns about lead content. Publix operates about 1,000 stores across Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The company’s website describes it as the biggest supermarket chain in the United States which is owned by employees. Winn-Dixie has hundreds of outlets in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.