Several articles have been recently published suggesting a potential link between California’s Plastic Bag Ban (Proposition 67) and the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless populations in California where more than a dozen have died and more than 400 have contracted the disease. The articles are as follows:
- “Plastic-bag ban led to a hep A health crisis?” published in the San Diego Reader and authored by Marty Graham, Sept 8, 2017.
- “Did California’s Plastic Bag Ban Cause Massive Hepatitis A Outbreak?” published by zeropointnow on Oct 11, 2017.
- “PSA: Homelessness and California” published in San Diego Homeless Survival Guide on 23 Sept 2017.
While the above articles do not provide conclusive proof of a causal connection between the plastic bag ban and the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless in California, the articles do document a link between the once plentiful plastic bags and hygiene and sanitation issues associated with the homeless. Hygiene and sanitation issues also associated with the Hepatitis A outbreak. Rather than summarize the above articles herein; the reader is urged to read the above listed articles instead.
One notable quote from the article Plastic-bag ban led to a hep A health crisis? by Marty Graham is as follows:
“Plenty of people discounted the plastic-bag theory but San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten was not one of them. “Yes, absolutely, we know people use the bags for that,” she said. “We know people don’t have bathrooms and they can put bags in cans and buckets and maintain good hygiene. That’s why we put plastic bags in the hygiene kits we’re handing out. That’s what we expect people will use them for.” (Graham, 2017)
The above articles demonstrate that California’s bag bans are responsible for exacerbating hygiene issues for those living on the streets or in homeless encampments.
In a previously posted article, entitled “Bacterial and Viral Health Hazards of Reusable Shopping Bags”, the author identifies the health hazards with the use of reusable shopping bags to the public and the homeless. For example, reusable bags must be maintained in a sanitary condition by regular washing or cleaning. Those who live on the streets and in homeless encampments simply do not have the means of washing or cleaning reusable bags. In addition, reusable bags that come into the grocery store from an unsanitary or disease laden environments (e.g. a homeless encampments or a home where there are communicable diseases) poses a public health hazard to shoppers and store clerks. For details read the cited article. (van Leeuwen, 2013)
Have you noticed how many grocery clerks are now donning plastic latex gloves? If you noticed this, then you must ask yourself: Why? Could it be that handling a customer’s reusable bags poses a real health risk to store employees, a health risk not encountered with store provided paper and plastic bags? The answer is obvious.
Bag Bans don’t solve problems, they just exchange one problem for another.
Graham, M. (2017, Sept 8). Plastic-bag ban led to hep A health crisis? Retrieved from San Diego Reader: https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/sep/08/stringers-plastic-bag-ban-led-hep-health-crisis/
van Leeuwen, A. (2013, June 2). Bacterial and Viral Health Hazards of Reusable Shopping Bags. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from Fight The Plastic Bag Ban: https://fighttheplasticbagban.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/bacterial-and-viral-health-hazards-of-reusable-shopping-bags_rev_1.pdf