California frequently leads the way for other states in environmental legislation. Soon, for the second time in three years, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will consider a measure that would ban the use of plastic shopping bags distributed at stores larger than 5,000 square feet.
The measure would require retail stores to use paper bags made from recyclables or plastic bags that can be broken down into compost; it is a new approach to a failed 2005 proposal that would have imposed a 17-cent fee on each plastic bag a consumer takes home from a store.
San Francisco alone uses roughly 1 million plastic bags each year. Further:
Producing 1 million plastic bags generates 13 million pounds of carbon dioxide.
It takes 11 barrels of oil to produce a ton of plastic bags.
Some 950 tons of plastic bags invade landfills, because only 1 percent of them are ever recycled.
Dr. Mercola’s Comment:
There’s no question that our polluted world exposes you and your family to all sorts of toxins that can damage your body, as this terrific National Geographic piece I posted last year described in excruciating detail.
Plastic, for example, can contain bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic compound that, among many other dangers, increases your unborn female baby’s future risk of adult breast cancer. If you use baby bottles, you will most certainly want to consider using glass bottles in place of plastic ones for similar reasons.
The Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) present in many forms of food packaging, and the phthalates present in many products, including plastic bags, are also hazardous to your health. The dangers they present are the inevitable result of flooding our environment and your body with synthetic chemicals with unknown effects.
One of the other major reasons I like to avoid using plastic bags is that some of them can eventually find their way into waterways or the ocean where they wreak havoc on fish and other marine wildlife.
There’s nothing better for your health than to make simple lifestyle changes, and using cloth bags instead of plastic bags is among the easiest.