Retailers set to limit lead in handbags

The health hazards from hidden lead in handbags will soon be limited


Most consumers don’t know that there are no standard limits to the amount of lead in purses, handbags, footwear and other accessories. 

Those little metal fasteners, brackets and tacks are almost invisible to consumers and fashionistas, yet they pose real health hazards to pregnant women and women of child-bearing age. 

Now, thanks to a $1.7 million settlement with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in Oakland, California, 40 major retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target and JC Penny, have agreed to establish industry-wide standard limits on how much lead these products can contain. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the new standards will be applied by December 2010. 

The list of companies that participated in the CEH settlement reads like a fashion industry “Who’s Who”, including: 

  • American Eagle
  • Coldwater Creek
  • JC Penny
  • Jones Apparel (Nine West)
  • Kohl’s
  • Limited
  • Liz Claiborne (Juicy Couture, Kate Spade)
  • Macy’s / Bloomingdale’s
  • Victoria’s Secret (Bath & Body Works)
  • and more.

Other companies will be allowed to opt-in to the agreement by agreeing to reformulate their products. 

This is definitely a win for consumers, and a wake-up call for us to be more aware of hidden toxic issues we may not notice.

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