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Bag Safety

Because these bags are used for food, bag safety is a particular concern.  NWPP, the most common bag fabric, is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and so safe it’s used in medicine.  As long as it’s used in the manner intended, it is completely safe for food packaging and contact.

You may wonder then why so many bags, including bags from 1 Bag at a Time, include a statement of non-toxicity inside.  The FDA has long regulated food packaging to ensure safety in this matter, and bags are no exception.  Many areas inside and outside of California require reusable bags to have a statement of non-toxicity, particularly for heavy metals.

While no one wants heavy metals in a bag or anywhere near their food, it is important to understand that trace amounts of heavy metals are naturally occurring everywhere, from the air we breathe to the soil we grow our food in.

It is normal for soil to have 50 PPM (parts per million) of lead  and soil with less than 100 PPM is safe for edible gardens.  (To learn more about lead safe gardening, click here.) For a bag and other food packaging, the law requires no more than 200 ppm total heavy metals in this product.

The 1BAG standard bag tests at 19 PPM, so it is 90% below the limit. 1 Bag at a Time’s reusable shopping bags have never had a recall for testing and we are tested often.

Be sure to wash your bag regularly and keep it clean. That’s part of safety too.

Safe limit for PPM of Lead Item
<90 Household paint, toys for children, furniture
<100 Soil for Edible Gardens[1]
<175 Jewelry for children
<200 Reusable bags and other packaging[2]
<400 Bare soil in children’s play areas[3]
<400 Garden soil to grow leafy vegetables and root crops[4]
<1200 Bare soil in residential non-play areas[5]


[1] Technical Review Workgroup Recommendations Regarding Gardening and Reducing Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Soils, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 2014,

[2] 200 PPM total for all heavy metals is considered safe in states that subscribe to Toxics in Packaging regulation.  Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, Fact Sheet,

[3] Hazard Standards for Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil (TSCA Section 403), EPA,

[4] Toxic Heavy Metals in Farm Soil, Sam Angima, 2010,

[5] [5] Lead Toxicity: What Are the US Standards for Lead Levels?  ATSDR, August 2012,

[2] Home Gardens and Lead, Arthur Craigmill and Ali Harivandi, Sept. 2010,