Monday, April 21, 2014

The great unwashed

Whew! Missed it by three votes. The nanny-state-ocracy nearly bagged us again. Yes, The state Senate voted 18-17, which was three votes short of what was required, to ban plastic grocery bags.

Four senators did not vote, so look for this to come back to the Legislature again next year. This year the same senator who wants to take away the Boy Scouts’ tax exempt status because they won’t allow gay scoutmasters voted against the bag ban because it would have put 700 people out of work in his district. Make Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, an honorary Eagle Scout for his helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, brave and clean vote against banning plastic bags.

The last adjective — clean — is the most important one. Reusable bags are breeding grounds for E. coli bacteria.

A 2010 study jointly researched by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found consumers were “almost completely unaware of the need to regularly wash their bags,” according to Environmental Protection Website. The researchers randomly tested reusable grocery bags used by shoppers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tuscon, Ariz.

“Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coloform bacteria, including E. coli, which were detected in half the bags sampled,” said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a University of Arizona environmental microbiology professor and co-author of the study.

He added that the bacteria levels found in reusable bags were substantial enough to cause serious health problems and even lead to death, with young children being in particular danger.

Southern California, with its longer warm season is at an even higher risk of bacteria breeding in reusable bags.

What do you get from E. coli? Try food poisoning. More accurately it should be termed self-food-poisoning.

Another study published in November 2012 by two researchers for the University of Pennsylvania Institute of Law and Economics found that since San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007 there has been a “46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses.”

Actually, one can purchase a plastic bag for 10 cents in San Francisco. That sure makes Christmas shopping there extra fun.

Another way to breed E. coli real fast is to leave your reusable shopping bag in a hot car.

“When you have raw meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables, the germs on the food items themselves can cross-contaminate, can get on the bag,” health educator Rosemary Anthony told NBC L.A. last week.

Channel 7 in Denver tested “several reusable bags used by 7NEWS colleagues and another from a woman going into a Denver grocery store.” The tests were made in September 2010 by Dr. Michelle Barron, the infectious disease expert at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“Oh my goodness! This is definitely the highest count,” Barron commented while looking at the bacteria count numbers.

“She admitted she was shocked at what was found at the bottom of the bags,” the TV station reported on its Website.

“We’re talking in the million range of bacteria,” she said. The tests showed three bags with low bacteria counts, two moderate, two with bacteria counts from 330,000-1 million, and four with high yeast and mold counts.

Adding to the problem is that people will put these bags to other uses such as carrying books or gym clothes. Or use them as lunch bags.

With the bacteria counts found in reusable grocery bags, they could wind up being used as barf bags.

The latest failed bag ban was Senate Bill 405 by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles. “We have an opportunity to do right by Californians’ quality of life, our health and the impact on the environment, and be aggressive about how we transition to a cleaner economy in the future,” Padilla said.

What a bunch of gobbledygook meaningless buzzwords. No. 1, reusable bags would be deleterious to our “quality of life, our health.” No. 2, what the heck is a “cleaner economy?” Is that anything like a “green economy,” where California’s 9 percent unemployment would be solved by thousands of people being employed installing solar panels and windmills or building electric cars? Yes, give us a clean and green economy, whatever that is. But don’t take away the plastic bags that line our waste baskets, pick up our doggy droppings and carry our lunches to work. We don’t want your legislated E. Coli.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 9 comments

  • cookie65June 05, 2013 - 6:13 am

    We would be better served by the first hundred names in the phone book than what we have now.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NancyJune 05, 2013 - 6:58 am

    Common sense says wash the food bag after each use. However, a lot of people won't. So they will bring in their dirty multipurpose food bag and place it in the cart and on the counter where your food will go. Also, think about all those germs riding on the handles of the shopping cart. Do you set your food in the cart's fold out seat where dirty diapers have been sitting? And when was the last time any grocery store actually cleansed the shopping carts with soap and water? It is amazing more people aren't sick from the unsanitary conditions of a grocery store. They may look clean but are they really?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil VeerkampJune 05, 2013 - 7:15 am

    The immune system is like a muscle. Exercise it. We are at most vulnerable when coming from long periods in a sterile environment. Play in the dirt more.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • kggJune 05, 2013 - 9:39 am

    the study that was published in november 2012 was done by LAW PROFESSORS jonathan klick and joshua wright. regarding the “46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses”: the facts are that these two law professors ESTIMATED a 46% increase in food borne illness deaths - which is 5.4 people a year. for the truth on this study, please go to this washington post article:

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  • MartinJune 05, 2013 - 1:22 pm

    Phil your right, take away germs and you become a recipient when they appear. I remember when I was a kid at my grandmother’s farm playing in the cow pond and covered with mud, cow dung and whatever. I don’t remember ever being sick with anything more than a cold. If a kid did that today you would be reading his obituary. Clean is good but it can go to far, the ones that you see sanitizing their hands every time that they touch something are the ones that are sick all the time.

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  • Jesus H ChristJune 06, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    Leave it to the Mt. Democrat to bring up gay scoutmasters in an article about banning plastic bags.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJune 06, 2013 - 12:26 pm

    This is a great letter--across the USA people are voting on a plastic bag ban...(shaking head) and they are losing...thank goodness-read...geese.

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  • refugee from EDCJune 06, 2013 - 3:03 pm

    Phil and Martin: If you are correct, than every resident of El Dorado County should live well past 100 y.o. Exposure to the filthy tweaker meth-heads who seem to go through a revolving door at the infested "justice system", and the dirty rotten pols who run a stink-hole of a county like El Dorado, you're immune systems should be unsurpassed.

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  • Phil VeerkampJune 06, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    Gary? Linda??!! ;-)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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