Excuse the small digression, but I thought this was a topic worth tabling. New research done by the Center for Environmental Health has found significant levels of lead in many mainstream handbags, most certainly available at a store near you.
The Center for Environmental Health pulled purses from 100 top retailers to test—everyone from Target to Neiman Marcus and H&M—and found that out of 300 tested, 43 bags contained significant levels of lead.
Some purses, like one from Tory Burch, contained as much as 580 times the amount of lead allowed in children’s toys, which we can only hope is basically none.
According to California law—prop. 65, the same law that busted the Brazilian Blowout—these purses should come with a big fat warning sign.
Burch, who at least had the decency to comment, unlike Guess and others in the hot seat, said that she’s “appalled” and launching a full investigation. Given how disconnected companies are from the far-away factories that make their products, it’s not surprising that brands don’t always know what they’re putting out on the retail floor. But that’s no excuse, since according to this ABC report “hundreds of manufacturers” had already signed an agreement saying they’d limit lead in their products. In other words: They know it’s a problem.
Needless to say, lead is extremely toxic. It shouldn’t be in lipstick (but it is) and it shouldn’t be in the bags we carry all day, everyday—bags that hold all of our goodies, including snacks, and that rub against our skin and possibly our kids. There’s no question this stuff can get into our bodies, and being that lead’s a powerful neurotoxin connected to all kinds of awful, that’s the last thing we want.
In the ABC piece, Michael Green from CEH said that this is one of the highest levels of lead ever found in a consumer product. The worse culprits seem to be brightly colored bags—apparently lead helps them retain color—in plastics and vinyls. They recommend choosing leather instead. So vegans, in this case, be warned.
Of course, this opens up a whole can of worms that we try not to think too much about, regarding the chemicals present in all of our wearables. Is this a rabbit hole you’ve already gone down? And did you have any idea that these plastic purses—and presumably other accessories, like wallets, made from the same materials—were so incredibly toxic?