Dispatch: California BPA, bag bans bagged

The California Legislature ended its session at midnight last night — and in the end, two pernicious pieces of legislation failed. The Senate rejected a bill to ban plastic bags from grocery stores and pharmacies after opponents argued it went too far in restricting consumer choice. The Senate also defeated, 19-18, a measure to ban the chemical Bisphenol A from children’s products.

ACSH’s Jeff Stier applauds the California Legislature for not taking a knee-jerk reaction. He’s previously argued in a New York Post op-ed that paper bags have their own drawbacks. “When Whole Foods banned plastic bags, they switched to paper, which attracts cockroaches,” he says. “Cockroach droppings can cause asthma. You have to be aware of unintended consequences.”

“When you ban one thing, the substitute may be worse,” observes Dr. Glenn Swogger Jr., chairman of ACSH’s board of trustees, who was visiting our Dispatch meeting this morning.

And plastic bags are often reused, Stier notes. “Many use them for picking up after their dogs. Try doing that, with a paper bag!”