Schumer latest to call for investigation into environmentally friendly bags

Amanda Carey Contributor

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the high levels of lead content in reusable shopping bags.

Last week Schumer sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg saying, “Any situation where lead bags are coming into contact with the food being purchased by Americans needs to be immediately investigated and resolved.”

On Monday, Schumer, who is also the vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, followed the letter up with a press release, again calling for an investigation on reusable bags as part of an effort to “make products imported from China safe for consumers and children.”

As The Daily Caller was the first to report, a study by TEI Analytical revealed that at least half of reusable bags made with Non-Woven Poly Propylene (NWPP) contain an unhealthy amount of lead – over the legal limit of 100 parts per million (PPM). These include bags from chains like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Harris Teeter, and CVS Pharmacy.

But according to TEI’s report, dangerous reusable bags are not just limited to grocery stores. The military, too, has pushed them as a way to be more environmentally friendly. And not surprisingly, one of the bags tested by TEI was from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. It was found to contain 230.1 PPM of lead – more than double the legal limit.

In September, in fact, Wegmans – a grocery store chain in the northeast – recalled all its reusable bags when alerted to their toxicity content.

“When our families go to the grocery store looking for safe and healthy food to feed their kids, the last thing they should have to worry about are toxic bags,” said Schumer in the press release. “We cannot allow manufacturers, in China or elsewhere, to see reusable bags to grocery stores that bring our food into contact with high levels of lead.”

Schumer is not the first lawmaker to officially call on the FDA to investigate reusable bags. Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire from Pennsylvania did the same thing earlier this year. Altmire did not get anywhere with the FDA, CPFC, or the EPA. All essentially thanked him for the concern, but did nothing. That was nearly six months ago.

Only time will tell if Schumer’s calls have any more resonance.