Plastic Bags May Go the Way of Lead Paint, Lawn Darts

The plastic bag threat to marine life is a myth.

Bloomberg reports:

Plastic shopping bags, a staple of the U.S. retail experience for a half-century, may be going the way of lead paint and other banned products.

Los Angeles, the second most-populous U.S. city, yesterday became the largest American metropolis to curb use of the ubiquitous bags out of concern that they clog waterways, kill marine life and litter public places. An alderman in Chicago has introduced a similar measure, and a councilman in New York said he plans to follow suit.

The notion that plastic bags pose some special hazard to marine life, however is a myth. As reported in The Times (UK) on March 8, 2008,

Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.

The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds…

Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals…

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