Probe is Sought into Lead Levels in Reusable Grocery Bags

Sunday, Nov 14, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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Probe is Sought into Lead Levels in Reusable Grocery Bags

Chip Somodevilla

Sen. Chuck Schumer.

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 Sen. Charles Schumer is seeking a federal investigation following a newspaper report of lead content in some reusable grocery bags.

The Democrat tells The Associated Press that many of the reusable grocery bags sold nationwide are manufactured in China.

Schumer plans to announce Sunday that he is contacting the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

There is less concern the lead would easily rub off on food when the bags are new, but there is a concern that as bags wear down, lead could accumulate in landfills, creating a potential environmental hazard.

The problem came to light this past September when Wegmans, a supermarket chain with stores in New York and four other states, pulled a number of their reusable shopping bags that were manufactured in China after a consumer group found that they contained higher than acceptable levels of lead that could affect public health.

Since that time, several other reports have shown higher than acceptable levels of lead in reusable shopping bags sold at chain supermarkets in other states like Publix and Winn-Dixie, as well as drug stores across the country. 

Last week, the Tampa Tribune found some bags had lead levels that concerned health officials.

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