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Faux Handbags Carry Real Lead Hazard

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, April 20, 2009 11:56 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Environmental Health, Pregnancy, Lead, Heavy Metals, Environmental Protection Agency

Faux leather handbags found to contain high lead levels

Handbags carry high lead levels 



IMAGE SOURCE:   Center for Environmental Health. Web site 


They are fashion handbags found at Macy’s Target, Kohl’s, Ross, JCPenny and WalMart and they are in violation of California law. 

High lead levels have been found in dozens of vinyl and faux leather women's products, according to the Center for Environmental Health.

Testing by The Center using an x-ray flourescence analyzer, found lead levels up to 90 times higher than the federal limit. Most of the highest levels were found in yellow, green and orange pigment bags with names such as Nine West, Xhilaration (Target store brand) and Rosetti. Lead may be contained in the material or the dye. 

In all but five of the 21 retailers where CEH shopped, lead levels were found to be high.

The bags were purchased from San Francisco Bay area outlets and tested by CEH. Lead levels are in violation of the states Proposition 65 consumer protection law.  The federal level for lead in paint is no more than 600 parts per million or ppm.  

Women and children, and especially pregnant women are advised to avoid faux leather and vinyl accessories and to keep the bags away from children. 

CEH is initiating legal action against the retailers.   The group previously identified toxic chemicals in children’s toys.

Parents Should Know

Parents should know there is no safe level of lead exposure and exposure in the womb can occur during pregnancy.  Lead is a heavy metal known to lower children’s IQ scores and may have a “lasting and possibly permanent effects” on a child’s IQ.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates lead as a probable human carcinogen that may have links to heart attack, strokes, infertility in women and high blood pressure.

Consumers are advised to purchase handbags made with natural ingredients and not faux leather. 

The retailers CEH found selling bags that contain high levels of lead include:

  1. Kohl's
  2. Target
  3. Macy's
  4. JCPenney
  5. H&M
  6. Wal-Mart
  7. Aldos
  8. Ross
  9. Forever 21
  10. New York and Co.
  11. Ashley Stewart
  12. 5-7-9
  13. Bakers Shoes
  14. Sears
  15. DSW

The brands of bags CEH found that contain high levels of lead include:

  • Fluff
  • Aldo US
  • Ashley Stewart
  • Urban Brands (Ashley Stewart)
  • Bakers
  • Chinese Laundry
  • Lulu NYC
  • Forever 21
  • Relic
  • Haddad Accessories
  • H&M
  • St. John's Bay
  • Worthington
  • Nine & Co.
  • Nine West
  • Apt. 9
  • Daisy Fuentes
  • Liz & Co. (by Liz Claiborne)
  • Dana Buchman (by Liz Claiborne)
  • Roxy (by Quicksilver, Inc.)
  • Rosetti
  • Cul-de-sac (Sears)
  • Steve Madden
  • Xhiliration (Target house brand)
  • Urban Expressions
  • No Boundaries (Wal-Mart house brand)

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