Homeless workers: CA plastic bag ban led to alarming Hep-A outbreak in San Diego

Homeless workers: CA plastic bag ban led to alarming Hep-A outbreak in San Diego

[Ed. – Giving the homeless a more sanitary way to deal with their bodily functions may not be the top reason for leaving things like plastic-bag choice to the market.  But this point is a reminder of the iron law of unintended consequences.  They’re always there.  You just don’t hear about them if they’re politically inconvenient.]

California’s Proposition 67…went into effect immediately on November 9th, 2016 — the day after the election.

That coincides with San Diego’s 14% spike in homelessness, brought on in part by a policy change that resulted in a massive reduction in available transitional housing (offered by hotels and motels)…

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, something as simple as a ready supply of littered plastic bags may have slowed the spread of the outbreak.

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“The reason the outbreak has spread so rapidly is because homeless are living in more concentrated areas,” said Dr. Jeffrey Norris, the St. Vincent De Paul medical director who has been managing the charity’s response to the public health threat. “They often have to defecate in their tent, or next to their tent, and that exposes their neighbors on the street. Hygiene becomes incredibly difficult.”

By “taking away a manageable alternative to defecating outside a bathroom,” the article suggests county health workers have been forced to play catch up and spend more money “handing out thousands of ‘hygiene kits’ that include plastic bags.”

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