PLASTIC BAG BAN: Lexington plastic surgeon says plastic bags are no good source NBC New York article Lexington, Mass.
(AP) Plastic bag bans hit retail shelves across Massachusetts on Monday, as lawmakers considered a compromise between consumer protection groups and the business community.
Plastic bags are a growing concern across the country, particularly in urban areas and the Northeast.
Plastic bag manufacturers and retailers say plastic bags help prevent spills, and some argue they are a healthier alternative to disposable plastic.
The legislation passed by Massachusetts’ House and Senate would require retailers to label plastic bags with a warning label.
Retailers would also have to put up signs that say “plastic bags” and “plastics safe.”
“Plastic bags are an extremely hazardous product,” said Massachusetts State Representative David P. Schaffer, who is sponsoring the bill.
“It’s not a good choice for our communities, our families and our pets.”
State Sen. Scott M. Schoellkopf, a Democrat from Springfield, called plastic bags “the greatest threat to our environment.”
“This is a step in the right direction,” Schoelkopfe said.
“I believe we can and must act now.
Plastic is a toxic product and it will be here to stay.”
The Massachusetts Plastic Bag Ban, introduced in 2012, was meant to curb plastic pollution and reduce its impact on wildlife.
In the past few years, plastic bag use has declined across the nation, but the ban hasn’t made much of a dent.
Plastic bag manufacturers say plastic is a safer alternative to the disposable plastic that has been found to cause more health problems and can cause eye, nose and throat irritation.
Plastic safety concerns have been raised, including the fact that plastic bags often don’t contain enough plastic to be safely disposed of.
Plastics can also break down into other chemicals, including methane and benzene, that can damage the environment and cause problems for communities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned benzene and other chemicals linked to the environment from use in gasoline.