San Francisco’s plastic bag ban just might kill you

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Now that San Franciscans have shown the rest of the country how very civilized and morally superior they are compared to the rest of us by enacting a plastic bag ban, people are getting sicker and, in some cases, even dying.

In September, Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson’s decision upholding San Francisco’s ordinance banning plastic bags for most retail establishments was praised by most.

“I applaud Judge Jackson for her careful consideration of the issues, and for rejecting arguments by plastic bag manufacturers that clearly misapplied state law,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, according to the Huffington Post.

Apparently, Jackson’s “consideration of the issues” wasn’t “careful” enough. Although she may have correctly applied California state law, she failed to take the “law of unintended consequences” into account.

Raise the minimum wage, and a college student can’t find that summer job. Declare a tiny fish called a Snail Darter an endangered species, and the fertile central California farmland turns to desert. Subsidize the production of ethanol, and the price of corn and corn-fed beef skyrockets.
So it goes with plastic bags.

Nowadays, the oh-so environmentally-astute San Franciscans are using their fancy-smanchy reusable bags whenever they run to the local super market to purchase their meat, fish, poultry and produce.

Health professionals are finding that those same bags have turned into little petri dishes, becoming the breeding ground for bacteria — both good and bad — which is in turn added to next week’s grocery purchase, and the one after that, and so on and so forth.

Ramesh Ponnuru, writing for, related an incident where “a reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls’ soccer team.”

That wasn’t an isolated incident. Ponnuru reported that in a 2011 study:

four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.

The same report indicates a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses, including salmonella, or 5.5 more of them each year.

The good news for those who use reusable grocery bags is that 99.9 percent of the bacteria can be killed by simply laundering them. The bad news is that only three percent bother.

One of the most memorable lines in “Body Heat” was when arsonist Teddy, played by Mickey Rourke, gives this advice to Ned (Willam Hurt) on committing crime: “Any time you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you’re gonna f**k up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you’re a genius… and you ain’t no genius.”

The same can be said of lawmakers at every level.


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