Is Your Trendy Reusable Bag Infected?

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The war against plastic bags could have a serious casualty: Your health. (via LA Times)

Those trendy reusable bags (encouraged in place of plastic ones) tote everything from vegetables to books. But it turns out they can also carry bacteria, including deadly E. coli.

A new study (dubiously paid for by the American Chemistry Council, which is lobbying against California’s potential ban of plastic bags) found that out of 84 bags tested, 12% contained traces of E. coli, and all but one was growing some sort of bacteria.

The source? Three quarters of users interviewed in California and Arizona carry vegetables and meat in the same bag.

But here’s the study’s more interesting finding: 97% of consumers said they didn’t clean their bags on a regular basis—or ever.

Don’t worry, though, there’s a solution: Washing a reusable bag kills 99.9% of bacteria.

Nice try, plastic.