CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IN the belief that plastic bags are a menace to society and reusable bags are good, San Francisco banned the use of plastic bags for groceries in 2007.
More than five years later, a research paper for the Wharton Institute for Law and Economics contends that this may have led to a 46 percent rise in food-borne illnesses. (There may be more factors.)
The Learning Channel cautions people to specify bags for meats and fish and to scrub or launder these bags regularly.
Regardless of what caused the rise in food-borne illness, the report raises questions about other unintended consequences. Won't the soap used to clean the bags use water, in short supply in San Francisco?
"California politicians didn't even bother studying the possible health effects of their anti-bag laws," wrote Debra J. Saunders in her column for the San Francisco Chronicle.
"They were in such a hurry to tell their constituents what's best for them, they forgot to check how their busybody scheme might go wrong."
Physicians are scolded: "First do no harm."
Good advice for politicians, too.
AT a ceremony in 1986, she told the West Virginia Society of Washington: "I can remember when I paid all the bills and had nine cents left in my pocket until next payday. I never complained. It is good to be pinched for money."
Through hard work, she and her first husband, who went from farm boy to the owner of Sterling Faucet in Morgantown, amassed a fortune in businesses that included coal mines, grocery stores and thoroughbred racehorses.
That alone was reason enough for the society to name Hazel Ruby McQuain its West Virginia Daughter of the Year in 1986.
But what she did with that wealth is equally remarkable.
In 1984, she put up $8 million to launch Ruby Memorial Hospital, named for her first husband, John Wesley Ruby, in Morgantown. Now, a decade after she died at 93, she continues to support the community and the school she loved so dearly.
This week, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust gave $7.5 million to WVU's law school. It will help finance a $25 million building and renovation project that will add 20,000 square feet of classrooms to the law school.
So much for the values of the reviled 1 percent.