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November 17, 2010

Lead in reusable bags? Get the facts.

cheap bags
Dear Customer,

In light of the recent New York Times article regarding lead content found in cheap reusable shopping bags (e.g. 99-cent, non-woven polypropylene bags), we would like to address some common concerns and dispel rumors and misconceptions.

Bags from Winn-Dixie, left, and Publix were found to contain lead.  Image from Tampa Tribune (Cliff McBride)

A brief summary of the issue 

  • An investigation conducted by the Tampa Tribune found high levels of lead in a handful of cheap reusable bags. A similar stroy from USA Today reported dangerous levels of lead in bags sold by Walgreens, Safeway and Bloom.
  • These reports have generated massive media coverage, fueling lots of misconceptions regarding the safety of reusable bags in general, especially those made in China.
  • This issue comes down to the problems inherent in cheap reusable shopping bags, which we've been bringing to light for years.

If you've purchased bags from us or recommended them to a friend, here are a few facts:

  • We have never carried the types of bags referred to in these reports (cheap reusable bags with printing on them).
  • Just because a bag is "Made in China" does not mean it contains lead or is in anyway unsafe. Many reputable brands we carry (including Envirosax, Flip & Tumble, BAGGU, ChicoBags and our reuseit line) manufacture bags in China using high-quality, safe materials.
  • At reuseit.com, you'll find safe, high-quality bags manufactured safely & responsibly all over the world. If you've purchased bags from us, you don't have anything to worry about.

Our basic advice & learn more

As always, be selective! Buy a handful of high-quality, "everyday" reusable bags that you will use for years and years - from a company you trust. That way, you'll know they're responsibly made, built to last and use high-quality materials (unlike cheap reusable bags).

Additional resources:

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at service@reuseit.com.


Vincent Cobb - Founder, reusablebags.com and reuseit.com

Update: This story recently resurfaced thanks to a report from the CCF uncovering unsafe levels of lead in cheap reusable shopping bags sold by Walgreens, CVS, Safeway and more. Find out who's behind the studies in our post Who is the CCF & what's their beef with reusable shopping bags?


Agreed Vincent!

This unnecessary drama may also may being spurred along by representatives from the plastic bag makers whom will do anything to try to persuade people to keep using plastic bags!


I just wonder how is a typical lifecycle of one of your high-quality reusable shopping bag like? Where does it come from?What material is it made of? How long is its life span?Is it washable? Where does it go after it is broken? Are they going to be recycled?

Just read the piece about using reusable bags with store logos on them - some are not going to use the bag from one store (example Walmart at a Kroegers etc)....I'm not one of those. I am a penny pincher and will shop where the sales are, threfore, I have my bags ready to go and use them in any store I have to go to. The important part is that I am not accepting plastic - even in the produce isles!

As a follow up to my previous comment - I also wash my bags. Not too long ago word was on the news that the "new" reusable store shopping bags were more likely to cause or spread e-coli etc. - and I scoffed at that - obviously those folks don't think about washing their bags!! I wash mine as often as possible so that there are no lingering germs from meat blood etc.

Cindy- All of the info you inquired about is available on our product pages. You can also email our customer service reps with any additional questions!

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Bag Manufacturers

I am a penny pincher and will shop where the sales are, threfore. I have my bags ready to go and use them in any store I have to go to.

Nevertheless, it does take some believed, especially in case you have not been in the habit of carrying out so prior to.

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please keep sharing and posting here guys!!!!

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