National Plastic Bag Ban Would Kill 1,380 People


Environmentalists have discovered that banning plastic bags and forcing people into the reusable bag business, not only increases recyclables, but kills people, recycling their corpses into the planet. For environmentalists who think that human beings are an infestation on the skin of mother earth, this is a good thing. For sane ethical people however this should be horrifying news.

Klick and Wright estimate that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year. They then run through a cost-benefit analysis employing the same estimate of the value of a human life that the Environmental Protection Agency uses when evaluating regulations that are supposed to save lives. They conclude that the anti-plastic-bag policies can’t pass the test — and that’s before counting the higher health-care costs they generate.

Do we really need a cost-benefit analysis to argue that doubling the number of deaths in a category is a bad thing?

Across California counties, the study has found an increase of 16 deaths. And those numbers will get worse as they expand beyond the yuppie population that actively likes using reusable bags and down into low income areas where they will be used sloppily and casually out of necessity, not by choice.

There’s an estimated 61 percent rise in ER visits due to E Coli and the estimated cost of all this is over 100 million dollars.

So now let’s consider what a national plastic bag ban would look like based on the national foodborne illness rates.

The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

That number will go up to at least 64 million or 1 in 5 Americans. Assuming a 46 percent increase in the national foodborne illness death toll… we end up with 1,380 more people dying under a ban.

Julia Louis Dreyfus and Eva Longoria may have actual blood on their hands. But it’s not as if this will affect them. And for environmentalists, murdering an added 1,380 people, many of them from low income groups, is not a bug, it’s a feature.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "They then run through a cost-benefit analysis…"

    Collectivism justified by "greater good arguments" always ends in death and destruction.

    And I would like to also point out the opportunities they have to use more junk science to render their analysis completely useless. There's more death and destruction and very little if any of that elusive real world benefit they're chasing.

  • elle

    Crazy, I've been re-using bags all my life… Never thought of this…

  • JacksonPearson

    Me thinks, environmentalists have to much idle time on their hands.

  • Mary Sue

    we use shopping bags (the plastic ones) as garbage bags, to line our trash with. So they get thrown out after each use.

  • Edward Cline

    Who ever started the rumor that environmentalists wanted to "save lives"? There isn't a single environmental regulation or law that is intended to "save lives." Every one of them is designed to save "Mother Earth." Had environmentalists been around in prehistoric times, fire would have been deemed a pollutant and agriculture would have been damned as altering nature's course. Luckily for us, prehistoric men would have "martyred" the first environmentalist who dared lecture them.

    • Ziggy Zoggy

      Prehistoric men would probably have eaten any environmentalists.

    • figment newton

      >>> Every one of them is designed to save "Mother Earth."

      at the expense of productivity and cost control. BooYAh

    • thomas_h

      "There isn't a single environmental regulation or law that is intended to "save lives." Every one of them is designed to save "Mother Earth."

      Great observation, E.C.!
      Needs to be repeated whenever occasion presents itself. Thank you, Edward

  • http://twitter.com/MerBleue2050 @MerBleue2050

    First, environmentalists have nothing to do with this study, which is likely paid for by the plastics industry.

    Second, correlation does not imply causation. Who is to say that ANY of those people hospitalized or those who died even used a reusable bag?? Paper bags were (and still are) still available. The numbers in the study are really, really small – they could have all gotten sick due to one outbreak, from spinach or lettuce or some bad chicken. Plus, when these bans are implemented, stores, local governments and NGO's hand out thousands of free, reusable bags. The reusable bags being used in those first few months are probably the cleanest bags ever.

    I'm not buying the reusable bag connection to illness. Plastic bags are banned, and have been, all over the world – in Bangladesh, in many African nations, in over 50 cities in CA alone. Ireland and DC have plastic bag fees, which have greatly increased the number of people using reusable bags. Believe me, we are not all dying of foodborne illness.

    Also, It is a good idea to always, always wash your produce. There is more than just potentially bacteria on that produce, there are also herbicides and pesticides.

    • Straight Thinker

      MerBlue, the item you are missing that, yes, was not clearly stated in the article is that the use-able bags must be washed regularly to kill or lessen the chance of food-borne illnesses. Cutting directly to the chase…why do so many grocery stores provide the hand sanitizer wipes for wiping down the shopping carts? It's because they know so many people are using them and the sharing or germs is easily done through this type of casual contact. Now move onto the reuse-able shopping bag. Even if you have your own sanitized check out line each and every time you go through the stores lines, you are dropping your reuse-able bag into the cart someone else had placed food into. Or the cans for recycling that were leaking and had been sitting out next to the garage all summer while they were being collected. The point is, how often do people think to wash and clean their bags? Not often according to a few studies (sorry, I can't cite one specifically this late at night off the top of my head). The fact is, those bags get set down everywhere. The single use bags are, in fact, safer for the user. For a greater part of the mid-20th century there were studies on how to safely package food so germs would not pass fomr one person to another easily. One of the many creations was the "single use bags", carton, and soda cups. Now, the environmental folks just want to ban them outright without looking at the deeper issue…overall HUMAN safety.

      • Straight Thinker

        Sorry about the typ-o's. It's late. The other point I missed…all of the juices from foods that are being carried in these bags. Forget worrying about your kitchen counter and the spread of God-only-knows-what. The reuse-able bags, are in fact, the big problem if they are not used properly. And remember, it isn't just about deaths….it's about how many more folks get sick, hospitalized, or worse, not including dying from these avoidable issues.

  • figment newton

    The Sydney norovirus that has run rampant through the country this year is capable of remaining virulent on surfaces for WEEKS . How many times is foodborn illness is blamed on other suspects ?

    I think environmentalists would just prefer we don't eat all, anymore.

  • Cat K

    But how will people display their sanctimonious superiority without toting around those reusable bags? The rest of the outfit (sandals, earthen tones, whatever else is hip this year) and an Obama bumper sticker just are not enough anymore.
    Yes, E. coli is icky and it can make you &your family sick – it can even kill. But facts don't matter to some people – on any topic.

  • http://twitter.com/thailawforum @thailawforum

    Undoubtedly, plastic bag bans help the planet. But because of the carcinogenic chemicals in the plastic, the bans are also aiding our health. We're talking prostate cancer in men, breast cancer in women, and liver cancer in both from some of these chemicals: http://www.thailawforum.com/doctors-warns-of-canc

  • Anthony van Leeuwen

    Check out my new blog: http://fighttheplasticbagban.wordpress.com/

    On my blog I have a downloads menu item. If you click on that there are a number of papers that I have written that can be downloaded.

    One paper titled “Negative Health and Environmental Impacts of Reusable Shopping Bags” deals with the health issues more extensively than you did in the article above. For example, in addition to bacteria, viruses and virus transmission with reusable shopping bags could make other sick. Also, people who have AIDS or a suppressed immune system may be more sensitive to bacteria in reusable bags then people who have normal immune systems. About 20% of the population fit in this category.

    Also, when bag bans are implemented people always complain about all those plastic bags that end up in the landfill. But they have never stopped to calculate all the stuff going into a landfill after a plastic carryout bag ban compared to before. It would surprise you to know that 3.5 times the amount of material goes into the landfill post ban than pre ban. Those plastic carryout bags are sure looking good. see my article titled “Fact Sheet – Landfill Impacts” for the details and the calculations.

    There is much more.