Skip to comments.Wash Your Bags -- Or Else
Posted on 02/10/2013 5:15:35 AM PST by Kaslin
San Francisco passed America's first ban on plastic bags in chain groceries and drugstores in 2007. In a research paper for the 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."
So is San Francisco's bag ban a killer? Conceivably, yes, but probably not.
Intuitively, the professors' findings make sense. The city's anti-bag laws are designed to drive consumers to reusable bags. Consumer advice types warn people about the dangers of said bags becoming germ incubators. I got this from TLC's 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 members 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.
San Francisco health officer Tomas Aragon reviewed Klick and Wright's paper and found "a biologically plausible hypothesis" but "sloppy" research. "It's a complicated topic. It's a little surprising that (they) would put this out there without a peer review," he added. If the professors had consulted with an epidemiologist, they would have understood how the city's unique demographics contribute to specific intestinal issues. (Unlike Aragon, I'm trying to be delicate here and not share too much information.)
In short, the doctor concluded that the study raised more questions than it answered.
Dave Heylen of the California Grocers Association ripped the study for not understanding something really basic about how the San Francisco bag ban worked at first. "People weren't using reusable bags," Heylen said. "They were using paper bags."
Be it noted, the grocers have supported proposals for a statewide ban on plastic bags -- which would require supermarkets to charge for single-use bags -- because they provide what the sponsor of Sacramento's latest effort, Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, calls "uniformity of experience" for shoppers and store owners. (It also means big stores can charge for bags and blame the government.)
For his part, Klick told me he cannot "rule out the possibility that there was something peculiar that happened in San Francisco." Maybe the cause isn't the bag ban. That's why there should be more studies that look into death rates and food-borne illness reports in the many communities -- San Jose and San Mateo and Alameda counties, for example -- that have passed bag laws since then-Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a bill to make San Francisco America's first city to ban plastic bags.
Mayor Ed Lee's office said the mayor will look into the health consequences of the city's now tougher bag laws if Aragon so recommends. That doesn't seem likely. Likewise, Levine didn't sound particularly concerned.
Maybe they should be. More than 60 California communities have bag bans, which means more Californians are using reusable bags. Most families probably aren't washing them. And that's not healthy.
California politicians didn't even bother studying the possible health effects of their anti-bag laws. They were in such a hurry to tell their constituents what's best for them that they forgot to check how their busybody scheme might go wrong.
I don’t care what amenities it has, I don’t know why anyone but stupid leftists would want to live in that nutty place.
Ignorant morons. As long as Mother Earth is saved, collateral damage is expected. I wonder what Red China would pay for S.F? Removing a tumor from a dying patient seems like a reasonable move.
Liberal arrogance on display:
They mandate air bags in cars, which result in deaths to drivers sitting too close and children in the front seat.
They mandate MTBE in gasoline to reduce emissions, but then contaminates millions of gallons of potable water.
They mandate all sorts of things with no regard for consequences.
“In a research paper for the Institute for Law and Economics, law professors Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright crunched state and federal data on emergency room admissions...”
No harm, no foul; most San Franciscans are long since used to hospital stays for communicable infections.
"TIME" to do away with daylight savings time. It's just plain DUMB.
That seems to be their point. Paraphrase: "Given what we all know about the (ahem) personal habits of San Franciscans, a little extra e.coli due to changing grocery bag usage wouldn't show up in the stats. Maybe they should run some numbers in communities where everyone doesn't, well, you know ..."
The Law of Unintended Consequences
But the ultimate in chutzpah is when these grand Leftist brain storms are proved to be bad policy, the Leftists double down on the bad policy to make them WORSE rather than better.
MTBE is no longer used. Hasn't been for almost a decade.
From what I understand MTBE is a by product of gasoline production and is costly to get rid of. The oil companies convinced the "greens" that adding it to gas would be better for the environment.
About 10 years ago, I tried listening to Michael Savage. I remember him complaining that the bum infestation was so bad, SF had started using chlorine in the street cleaners when washing down the bum-frequented areas of tourist district.
Can't remember what they were finding. Hepatitis, most likely.
I had an argument here with a bunch of people about how people get sick. They were the type that wash their hands every 5 minutes (I don’t...I wash my hands about 4 times a day, unless I’m working on my cars) and actually think that sanitizers do anything other than dry out and wreck your skin. They got really angry - I think that I burst their bubble because they complained that they still kept getting sick, while I never get sick. LOL. I asked them, if they were so smart, how come they STILL can’t figure out how to stop the common cold from spreading. I happen to think, based on my history before flu shots (which I do need), that the bugs that get you sick are always inside of you, and when you hit the right conditions (damp, cold, windy), they are able to come out and attack (as I always used to get sick after underdressing for the weather). So they can wash their hands until they blue in the face, but it’s not doing them any good.
Having said that, I do think these re-usable bags are bad news. Liquids drip out of meat packages, that simple. Put a head of lettuce in there next, have a salad, and you’ve just a whole bunch of bad things that your tummy may tell you about.
OK it being SF and the title being “Wash your Bags” the subject was not what I was expecting.
(1) The results of government actions and policies don't matter.
(2) The media will ignore or cover up any bad results.
In many ways, that is all you need to know to understand our new America.
There are more pet dogs than children in SF, and they all go outside. If plastic bags are banned how are they handling that problem?
Not exactly, according to others.
Or in other words, the law of unintended consequences strikes again. Funny how often that law hits liberals upside the head.
lol...I said that when they 1st came out with this....didn't need any study....Common sense is at a premium in SF....