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posted in <<ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT > Political Satire

The Plastic Bag Ban

The Plastic Bag Ban

In late March, 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of plastic bags by grocery stores. For the record, I’m in favor of the San Francisco bag ban. It’s the right decision. Given that plastic bags take 1000 years to decompose in landfill, we need to take action right now to stop adding more plastic bags to the planet.

And yet, as I’m pointing out in this article, isn’t it interesting how easy it is to ban plastic bags that are dangerous for the environment but how difficult it is to ban chemical food ingredients that are dangerous to human health? The reason behind this, of course, is that plastic bag companies have a terrible lobby, but big food giants practically run Congress and government regulators like the USDA and FDA.

Banning cancer-causing chemicals from foods has been attempted many times (even by a former top official at the USDA many decades ago), but has never been successful. (I’ve documented some of this history in my book Grocery Warning)

They’ve got complete control over all the toxic, cancer-causing chemicals in the foods. Think about what’s legal: aspartame, sodium nitrate, sucralose, fluoride, MSG, yeast extract, petroleum-derived food colors, toxic preservatives, acrylamides, bisphenol-A and trace amounts of solvents, heavy metals, PCBs, pesticides (and much worse). You name a popular food product found in every grocery store in America, and I can tell you which cancer-causing chemicals it contains.

It’s all perfectly legal. But the bag you carry all those poisons in has been banned.

I guess the priorities of the regulators in this country are pretty clear: Save the environment, but not the people who live in it. (Again, no blame to the S.F. city leaders, since they are doing the right thing here. But wouldn’t it be nice if they could take the next step and outlaw the chemical contamination of foods sold in San Francisco?)

I had a guy come up to me the other day at a health food store who said all this use of chemicals in the food supply was part of a super secret global population control campaign. I thought that was a little too complex of an explanation, actually. If they want to stop population growth, all they have to do is ban beer.

Of course, all these food chemicals do have the side effect of causing widespread infertility, and that definitely impacts population growth (or just makes infertility clinics wealthy). So maybe the guy has a point.

But my whole point here is that if we’re really serious about planetary health, shouldn’t we ban all the poisons IN the bag instead of just the bag? Why not outlaw all the food and beverage additives that cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and migraine headaches? I say let’s protect the planet and the consumer at the same time. Hand ’em a hemp cloth shopping bag filled with fresh, organic produce. That’s how you save the planet AND prevent disease in consumers.

Again, I agree with banning the bags, and I applaud the leadership of San Francisco in being the first U.S. city to stand up and make this important decision. But let’s not stop there. Let’s ban the very real hazards INSIDE the bag, too.

CounterThink cartoons graciously contributed
by Mike Adams and Dan Berger of

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posted by earthwalker on August 25, 2007 | tags:

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