ALBANY, N.Y. (1010 WINS/WCBS 880/CBS 2/AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is seeking a federal investigation following a newspaper report of lead content in some reusable grocery bags.

The Senator said that many of the reusable grocery bags sold nationwide are manufactured in China. Schumer announced Sunday that he is contacting the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“I’m calling on the FDA working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EPA to immediately ban any of these bags that have elevated levels of lead,” Schumer said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported that the lead appeared to be in a form that was not easily extracted. There was, however, concern that over time the bags could wear down and the paint could flake off.

Williamsbridge resident Chaka Johnson said she uses the reusable bags instead of paper or plastic and was surprised to hear about the safety concern.

“Now that I know, I’m just very shocked,” Johnson told Carlin.

Schumer also emphasized the need to be hold China accountable.

“China has no regard for American safety. It’s a place notorious for lax safety and health standards,” Schumer said. “A record of manufactured products with things like cadmium and lead come from China.”

At the same time, Schumer said it takes some time before the lead poses a serious health concern, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

“People are going to ask, ‘is there an immediate danger?'” Schumer said. “The good news is there’s not. Lead when it gets into your system takes years to accumulate to have harmful effects and these bags are relatively new.”

There is less concern the lead would easily rub off on food when the bags are new, but there was a concern that as bags wear down, lead could accumulate in landfills, creating a potential environmental hazard.

Last week, the Tampa Tribune found some bags had lead levels that concerned health officials.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. K W says:

    Fool me once, shame on Chinese; Fool me many times? maybe an insider job

  2. AndrewNine says:

    How about a list of the actual brands that are containing lead???

  3. Ralph says:

    There is nothing in the report regarding the bags’ construction. Are these cloth bags with lead in the ink or dye? Or are these “thermal” bags?

  4. Iam Baduy says:

    An investigation is definitely called for. Who is responsible for allowing this to come in here? Someone is not doing their job! These, “eco-bags,” do not come to America by themselves. Someone (in America) is saying, “Ok – we want 2 million of those and we want it cheaper.”

  5. Pete says:

    I am very disappointed at Senator Chuck Schumer’s statement that the recycle bags suspect of having unsafe lead level, “guess what, it is made in China”. Such unfair representation should NOT come out of the mouth of a Senator of the USA.

    That’s American Corporations passing the buck and American Politicians kissing up. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR CHUCK SCHUMER AGAIN!!!!

    I have American friends who import products from China. They told me that they are responsible for having the product tested to adhere to American Standards. Therefore, it is not the factories’ responsibility to ensure that products adhere to American Safety Standards. IT IS THE AMERICAN IMPORTERS and CORPORATIONS THAT COMMISSIONS THE PRODUCT’s RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE AMERICAN SAFETY STANDARDS ARE FOLLOWED!!!!

    Stop blaming China for America’s woes. Americans had their shares of killing the Moms and Pops stores and looking the other way in terms of safety of imported goods. Where multi-point safety procedures are breached, many are at fault for failing their responsibilities. AND IT IS NOT JUST CHINA that is at fault.


    Americans have a heavy hand of responsibility in unsafe products in the USA. They are the one whose marketing them everywhere.

  6. Bob in Jersey says:

    Schumer couldn’t possible more wrong about lead taking years to have a harmful effect on the body.

  7. Bushytail says:

    Once again, Chuckie Schumer gets his face in the news. Never saw anyone who can find so many things to carp about.

    1. egg says:

      While I try to avoid any product made in China because of their unconscionable and deplorable methods of making anything from baby food to bags, schumer’s statement that “china has no regard for American saftey” is ridiculous. AMerican’s are the ones to blame here. We’ve sold our country to a country who has no standards; further, why should China care about us. How many products have been recalled and, yet, American’s continue to buy.
      Shame on us!

  8. Glidmokk says:

    The problem is that Americans buy products — including food — based mainly on price, not quality. The fact that it is the Chinese who step in to take advantage of that is more or less a coincidence. If all these goods and food were USA-manufactured, there would be American entrepreneurs who would seek to do exactly the same thing: Create products that will sell, meaning ‘products that are cheap, cheap, cheap.’

    This endless desire for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper leads to “fake products” – products that look like (for example) a toy, but that break the moment a real child starts to play with it. Thus it was a “fake” toy, in that it does not operate as a toy. Or products that appear to be (for example) infant formula, but are actually a compote containing poisonous melamine: Fake infant formula, but cheaper than the real thing.

    The supply is created to meet the demand for cheapness. Denouncing China for allowing this is fine and correct…but stopping Chinese companies from this behavior will not end the problem.

    At my house, aware of this danger, I carefully investigate every product we seek and almost never buy the cheapest one. I try to find that one that is not stupidly, pretentiously expensive, but that meets the quality standards of safety and functionality. This means there are some things that we cannot afford — even though ‘cheap’ versions of the product are available in our price range.

  9. DanTe says:

    I have personally avoided China made products a LONG TIME ago. When I first saw one of their factories clean out their equipment with gasoline and than promptly start using it to fill energy drinks, WITHOUT removing the gasoline residues.

    But would the two faced libturds here stop buying? Nope. They’ll whine about one thing and do the exact opposite.

    1. harriet in ny says:

      Hey, you are justy making stuff up, do you have any evidence that buying stuff from China is a left wing conspirsay? Isn’t Walmart one of the biggest reasons why stuff is imported from them? Driving down the prices by driving jobs out of the us, that woud would Walmart, not exactly a baston of liberal thinkg.

  10. BC says:

    How about we stop the need to do investigations and stop being cheap and greedy and bring the jobs back home? Sounds like a simple solution to me. I think five unemployed people for every one job is reason enough.

  11. petenice says:

    CAn we just stop getting products from China!!!!! If the Chineese govt. will not do the right thing and make sure their products are safe we should not give them any business.

  12. marcial blas says:

    if it is true then a an honest to goodness investigation should be conducted by the concerned agency.Not only in the US but other countries that uses recycled bags.When we see products made from china doubt lingers on .

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