Bronx councilman calls for halt on paper bag ban, says reusable bags host bacteria

A statewide plastic bag ban went into effect last month, but a city councilman says he believes reusable bags could put shoppers' health in jeopardy.

News 12 Staff

Apr 7, 2020, 2:08 AM

Updated 1,502 days ago

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A statewide plastic bag ban went into effect last month, but a city councilman says he believes reusable bags could put shoppers' health in jeopardy.

Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj's office cited a study by the University of Arizona that found reusable bags often host bacteria and are not washed frequently.

"You can be contaminating the very products you are buying with the bags you are using," said Gjonaj.

Studies show coronavirus can live on surfaces like plastic for as long as three days, according to the National Institute of Health.

Gjonaj says shoppers should not be taking chances. He has pitched to temporarily do away with the 5 cent charge on paper bags so customers are not discouraged from using them.

"We will review the bill once it has been introduced, but currently there does not appear to be a higher risk of transmission connected to the use of reusable bags," said a spokeswoman for Gjonaj.

A number of states are temporarily prohibiting reusable bags in an effort ot protect customers and grocery store workers during the pandemic.
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