Poison in Your Purse? Retailers Sell Lead Tainted Handbags

June 21, 2012

Your purse could be carrying a lot more than your wallet and keys, these days.  New findings reported by a consumer watchdog group show that some of the most fashionable purses being sold contain high levels of lead.  The new study has raised questions regarding the safety of purses, an accessory that millions of Americans carry with them everyday.

Click here to learn more and watch an exclusive report by ABC Network News Correspondent Lisa Fletcher.

The Center for Environmental Health found lead in handbags sold at one out of four retail stores it visited.  Forty-three of the 300 purses it tested in a lab contained lead in the sides of the product. “We find it really distressing that some of these companies had this problem,” said Michael Green, the group’s executive director. “This is one of the highest levels of lead we have ever found in a consumer product.”

The group suggests purchasing leather or fabric goods, instead of plastic or vinyl, especially those which are brightly colored. The fear is that lead can rub off the surface and onto any food you might be carrying, or onto your children.

The five purses that contained the most lead were made by Tory Burch, Guess, House of Harlow, Nine West and Charlotte Russe. Click here to see if you own a purse made by one of these manufacturers.

Two major distributors, H & M, as well as New York and Co., have agreed to pull these products off their shelves and test them for lead exposure. The hope is that other major retail chains will join the voluntary assessment very soon.

In the meantime, consumers should take precautions of their own to make sure they are only carrying a purse and not a poison with them.