Monday, February 11, 2013

If It Saves Only One Life!

San Francisco passed America's "first-in-the-nation" ban on plastic bags in chain grocery stores and drugstores in 2007. In a research paper for the Wharton School Institute for Law and Economics, law professors Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright crunched state and federal data on emergency room admissions and food-borne-illness deaths and figured that the San Francisco ban "led to an increase in infections immediately upon implementation."

They found a 46 percent rise in food-borne-illness deaths. The bottom line: "Our results suggest that the San Francisco ban led to, conservatively, 5.4 annual additional deaths."
5.4 agonizing deaths of vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding and dehydration all so the that the greenies can feel good about having saved a trivial amount of material?  Now, when the greenies win, multiply that up to the whole country, and how many deaths do you have each year?  Approximately 2,000, using the current populations of the United States and San Francisco.

Of course, you could wash your reusable bags...
I got this from the TLC website:

"Designate specific bags for meats and fish. Wash these bags regularly - preferably after each shopping trip - to get rid of bacteria. If your bag is fabric, toss it in the washing machine with jeans, and if it's a plastic material, let it soak in a basin filled with soapy water and either the juice of half a lemon or about a quarter cup of vinegar."

Ask your friends and family how many of them regularly wash their reusable bags - ask how many folks ever have done any of the above steps - and you can intuit that a ban on plastic bags might not be the brightest idea.
Which would negate any benefits in energy and material conservation, and require more work on the part of the consumer.  Or you could just use the recyclable one use plastic or paper bags...

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