Could a ban on plastic bags be fatal?

San Francisco passed America's "first-in-the-nation" ban on plastic bags in chain grocery stores and drugstores in 2007. In a research paper for the Wharton School Institute for Law and Economics, law professors Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright crunched state and federal data on emergency room admissions and food-borne-illness deaths and figured that the San Francisco ban "led to an increase in infections immediately upon implementation."

They found a 46 percent rise in food-borne-illness deaths. The bottom line: "Our results suggest that the San Francisco ban led to, conservatively, 5.4 annual additional deaths."