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3 Eco-Friendly Swaps That Could Be Bad for Your Health (Page 2)

Reusable Bags

1. You use reusable bags at the grocery store.

Most plastic bags don’t biodegrade, so reusable ones are a smart option. But when researchers tested reusable bags shoppers were using, almost all had large numbers of fecal bacteria, according to a 2011 study in Food Protection Trends.

“Some bags had more E. coli than underwear,” says Charles P. Gerba, Ph.D., study co-­author and environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Even worse? Bacteria increased tenfold when used bags sat in warm car trunks for two hours.

The solution: Wash bags regularly—and after each use if they carried meat products. “Most of the bacteria came from meat,” Gerba says. Machine-washing in hot water is best, so Gerba recommends cloth bags.

Next: 2. You’ve replaced sponges with dishrags. »


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