These numbers are a decent improvement from past lead tests, he says, acknowledging that purse makers have made noteworthy progress. “But we still think the industry can do a lot better.”
Lead is no joke when it comes to your health. Every major medical and public health organization in the world has admitted that there is no safe level of exposure to this toxic metal, which does more than just impair neurological development in children. It builds up in the bones and fatty tissue of adults, leading to serious late-in-life problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Some scientists suspect it could even be linked to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.
For women hoping to protect their health and steer clear of lead, Margulis offers a few shopping tips:
• Steer clear of brightly colored accessories
Lead acts as a stabilizer to preserve the color of really bright hues, particularly in the yellow and red family. It’s pretty rare to find a high lead content in a black or brown bag, Margulis says. These colors might not be as fun to flaunt, but at least you’ll lessen your chances for health issues, which, in addition to those mentioned above, include mood disorders, infertility, and memory loss.
• Stick with real leather or canvas
The tests rarely revealed lead in real leather bags. It’s more of a problem in vinyl, polyurethane, and other leather alternatives made from plastic, Margulis says. If you want to avoid animal products entirely, buy a canvas bag. (Can’t find one you like? Check out this Summer Bag Everyone Needs to Buy.)
• Shop smart
Though countless retailers sell products that contain lead, here are some well-known brands that tested positive for lead at levels that exceeded the 300 ppm limit:
- Big Buddha
- Forever 21
- House of Harlow 1960
- Tory Burch
- Ralph Lauren
- Nine West