UPDATE: March 20, 2012-Many of you have asked for direct links to products made from polyurethane coated nylon that are used for food purposes. I have a list of sites on another posting on this blog, but to make it easier for you to find it look here: http://4girlsdesignsblog.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2009-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2010-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=13 See Monday, September 14
I would also like to add that I am not trying to scare anyone, or make you feel like you have to buy my bags. That has never been my intention. The reason I started this blog was to share the information that I had been able to find on this subject. I have since added information for you to purchase the same materials yourself and make them yourself. I hope that what I have done has helped others. I am sure that PUL is a wonderful product but the fact is it has not been approved as a food safe product. I have nothing against the product being used for other purposes. I have used it to make wheelchair cushion covers and have been very happy with it's properties.
UPDATE: March 29, 2010- I am still seeing many sellers using unsafe materials. If you choose to purchase the coated rip-stop nylon lining PLEASE be sure the seller has the shiny, coated side away from your food. It saddens me to see someone selling bags made out of just rip stop nylon with the shiny side on the inside of the bag where your family's food will be stored. That is unsafe. Don't use those. Also, just on a structural note: make sure they are sewing at least twice around the edges of the VELCRO closure or it will not last. Look carefully at these safety and functional details prior to purchasing food bags.
Many, many, sandwich bags have been made with PUL fabric which is NOT considered to be food safe by the FDA. Despite the fact that this is noted on the vendor’s websites, and the manufacturer’s web site, people are still out there, on thousands of blogs and forums, telling each other to go ahead and use it and sell it to others. Although PUL is a fascinating fabric, it is not designed for, nor does it meet, the standard of materials that are in contact with food. PUL stands for a cotton or polyester knit fabric that has a laminate layer on one side. It was made for a variety of purposes, like hazard-mat suits, hospital bedding, shoes, and somewhere along the line was embraced by those making their own diapers. Now the latest trend with PUL is to make the reusable sandwich bags/wraps out of it.
This is what the manufacturer says about the product PUL:
Fabuthane® PUL is used in the following applications:
5. Protective coatings
This is what two of the leading vendors of PUL say:
Celtic Cloth: “No, PUL has not been approved as food safe.”
Another maker of PUL food sacks argues that she has done her homework, still insisting that it is safe and she lists THIS outdoor dog gear shop to “prove” PUL is safe. However, I searched the entire site and found only references to polyurethane coated nylon material being used. The PUL user goes on further, telling the purchaser to “use lemon juice and lots of sunlight to get the mildew out” of the PUL liner. I include this only to say to sellers, be sure of what you are selling. And to buyers, be sure of what you are buying. The product was not made for this purpose and this is one of the way’s it is showing that.
We have to label PUL fabric as UNSAFE for reusable sandwich bags and wraps.
There are some other UNSAFE practices going on out there: using old vinyl shower curtains, using vinyl tablecloths, modern version of “oil cloth”
SAFE: Home made oil cloth, or beeswax cloth, are useful for this purpose. Modern “oil cloth” is really just a nasty vinyl product. You can find instructions online for the oil cloth as well as the beeswax. I am partial toward the beeswax cloth for all the healthy things associated with it, and I love the smell of beeswax!
SAFE: Plain cotton material is available. Here, know where your fabric is coming from and what hazards to look for. There have been many issues of late with foreign made fabric being printed with high levels of metal. Buy only the best fabrics, from reputable shops. Some prefer only the organic cotton, inside and out. That is considered safe, however, you lose the waterproof capabilities of other materials. That means your sandwich may leak onto what is around the bag, or your bread may get dried out. It is a safe choice however.
SAFE: Polyurethane coated nylon is water, stain-, mildew-, abrasion- and rot- resistant.
We know that to be internationally marketed these products had to be carefully tested and we see they are both using the polyurethane coated nylon material. This material meets the demands of the consumer: water-, stain-, mildew-, abrasion-. rot-resistant, free of heavy metals and phthalates, PBBs, and PBDEs. It is also widely available to crafters .
- Snack Taxis (formerly Happy Sacks) recently featured on Oprah: SnackTAXIs are lined with a waterproof material that consists of nylon with a polyurethane coating. After talking to many manufacturers of this product, we understand that this type of coated nylon is free of heavy metals and phthalates. The tests revealed that the nylon is free of heavy metals (including lead), phthalates, PBBs, and PBDEs.
- WallabyBags They're laminated on the inside with polyurethane, which is food safe and widely used in the food industry from food manufacturing and packaging to food storage. They are water proof, so they're perfect for keeping your sandwich fresh, as well as packing messier take-alongs like fruit….they are machine washable and dry-able.
- GO GREEN POUCHES : The sandwich size pouch will neatly fit your large sandwich, bagel or wrap. Dimensions 7.5"W x 6.0"H Material 100% cotton, lining 100% nylon.
Please visit my etsy store (www.4girlsdesigns.etsy.com) and see the variety available.
Let’s educate our children on the most eco-friendly ways and invite them to be a part of it. They can pick the style, fabric, shape, etc. with my store items. I also get them to you much faster! You can get a multi-item discount, as well as low combined shipping. I seek to supply you with the best materials for a safe lunch, and also the best fabric for a fun lunch, and faster service for your immediate lunch needs. I offer 100% cotton, inside and out, if you prefer that. I am a Mom and have the exciting privilege of raising my kids, and the blessing of time they give me to sew!
Please check out this site: Environmental Working Group for some great kid-friendly menu suggestions and eco friendly lunch-packing tips.