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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reusable Bags- Are you choosing the right one?

So today's post was not planned, in any form of the word. It actually came about from me wondering through some Facebook business pages. I feel it is very important to give you a little bit of information that will keep your family safe!

There are so many companies starting to offer reusable snack bags. I just wish they took the time to research the materials they use before developing a product. Today I saw numerous bags being lined with PUL (Polyurethane Laminated Fabric). o what is the big deal you ask? Well PUL is not, I repeat is not, food safe!

Don't get me wrong it has its uses. PUL is great for cloth diapers, actually its excellent. And its great for other crafts and such! First I would like to point out that there is a wood stain called polyurethane. And let me tell you, if you stay  around it too long it can induce on heck of a headache! But I digress, lets take a look into PUL:
  • The Process- Basically what happens is the PUL is applied to the surface of more porous materials (fabrics), such as cotton or polyester. This application is done through heat bondage where a single layer of PUL is applied to a layer of fabric using strictly heat. While this application leaves the fabrics with a waterproof layer and still provides flexibility, it contains many chemicals. Also due to is heat bondage in some cases the fabrics may start to "un-bond" or separate.
  • Toluene Diisocyanate, one of the main chemicals used in the process. This chemicals is actually classified as "highly toxic!" This chemical is used in the production of all polyurethane products. Check out this page from the EPA that lists the effects of this chemical, cancer is even listed! Or this chemical safety card from the CDC.
  • "According to the National Institute for Occupational Saftey and Health's International Chemical Safety charts, this substance is possibly carcinogenic to humans." Read more HERE. (Sources are listed there as well.)
  • I'm sure there are people out there who will tell you PUL is safe for reusable bags as long as you put the laminate side away from food. But honestly, you really think that will solve the problem? The two materials are heat bonded, when they heat up the chemicals found in the PUL is sure to find its way into the porous fabric. With so many health risks from this material- just don't risk it!
So, keep the PUL for other crafts and home projects. Its great to upholstery dinning room chairs, to make high chair liners, or even baby bib. Or heck, save tons of many by using cloth diapers! Some outdoor clothing is made using PUL as well as many shower curtain liners.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my food anywhere near this stuff! So what now? What kinds of reusable bags are safe for food, and your family? Choose bags with cotton or nylon (rip-stop only) linings. Both of these fabrics are proven to be food safe. If you are looking for a more stain and water resistant lining, choose nylon. If you are looking for a more "all natural" product go with an organic cotton.

Still need some more information? Leave me a comment or send me an email! I'm happy to help you make a safe and healthy choice for your family!

* Please note- The above statement is my opinion, I have sited facts that I have found over numerous hours of research. I have also had phone calls with manufactures  and suppliers of these products. The statements above are correct to the best of my knowledge, I have done everything in my power to ensure this.


  1. I'm a cotton fan all the way! And cotton can be made water resistant with a bit of bees wax. You just rub it on and melt it in with a hair dryer. :)

    Cory of

    1. Thanks for the tip! I had no idea =) I've heard of putting bees wax on wooden toys, but never fabric!