Excerpts from "Lead in Reusable Bags"
Christopher Duffy: There are many avenues lead could make its way into a product, but it appears to most often occur at the early raw materials stages. More important to note, however, is that bag manufacturers are entirely capable of producing a bag that contain no lead, or other heavy metals, as a product component. In fact, two-thirds of the 49 bags tested by CCF were fully compliant with the law.
PM: Why do you think the CCF decided to release this information now?
CD: It’s wholly possible this is simply another attention-getting maneuver and I would surmise there is a likely hidden agenda. (It's true that CCF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization but it's also true that they actively maintain the anonymity of their financial contributors). Twice in their story—including their secondary headline—CCF references the paper and plastic bag categories and the bans or taxes being imposed on those product segments. Clearly, these products have suffered in recent years and have something to gain with such a story. As a company that also sells paper and plastic bags, we’ve seen these specific products lose some market share to the reusable bag segment.
PM: Do you think these tests and reports are accurate?
RB: Accuracy of tests has become a key issue at CPSC since the YKK Group met with CPSC and disclosed that they had commissioned identical tests of identical items at multiple accredited labs and that the results were inconsistent. In one case, tests reported a range of 0 ppm to 331 ppm for an item known to contain 71 ppm lead. We have experienced similar discrepancies between our in-house tests and third party lab tests but those were mostly because of different testing methods employed.
That said, we have generally found that third party test results are normally comparable to our own internal tests and are reasonably reliable for the sample tested. We don’t find them to necessarily be a reliable predictor of subsequent production runs.
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.