Grocery Bag Bans and Foodborne Illness

24 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2013 Last revised: 28 Jan 2013

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Joshua D. Wright

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: November 2, 2012

Abstract

Recently, many jurisdictions have implemented bans or imposed taxes upon plastic grocery bags on environmental grounds. San Francisco County was the first major US jurisdiction to enact such a regulation, implementing a ban in 2007. There is evidence, however, that reusable grocery bags, a common substitute for plastic bags, contain potentially harmful bacteria. We examine emergency room admissions related to these bacteria in the wake of the San Francisco ban. We find that ER visits spiked when the ban went into effect. Relative to other counties, ER admissions increase by at least one fourth, and deaths exhibit a similar increase.

Keywords: plastic, environment, pollution, e-coli

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Klick, Jonathan and Wright, Joshua D., Grocery Bag Bans and Foodborne Illness (November 2, 2012). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2196481 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2196481

Jonathan Klick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Joshua D. Wright

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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