Reusable Bag Testing Project

Toxics in Packaging

Washington State Department of Ecology partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to purchase and screen reusable shopping bags for toxic metal content. The sampling was in response to recent concerns raised in the media about reusable bags.

Iowa screened the 31 bags with an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument, which identified bags beyond or close to the 100 parts per million (ppm) limit for four toxic metals restricted by packaging laws in both states: lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium. Bags or parts of bags that failed the XRF screening were sent to Ecology’s Manchester Laboratory for standard analysis to confirm the results.

Washington State and Iowa Reusable Bag Screening Results offers the test data.

Related information

Press Release: Reusable Bags

Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH)offers more information on cooperative states' efforts to reduce toxic chemicals in packaging materials.