New Lead Standards for Purses, Wallets

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Lead could be lining your purses or wallets, but 40 major retailers have vowed to set better standards to limit the presence of the toxic substance in their goods.

Macy’s (Stock Quote: M), Sears Kmart (Stock Quote: SHLD), Target (Stock Quote: TGT), Kohl’s (Stock Quote: KSS) and JC Penney (Stock Quote: JCP) and other major retailers have agreed to limit lead levels in surface coatings, leather, vinyl and any other materials used in handbags, according to the Center for Environmental Health.

Lead can be especially harmful to children, who can build up dangerous levels of lead in their bodies over the long term. Exposure to the substance could lead to infertility, impairments in children’s mental functioning and other problems for pregnant women and women of child-bearing age, according to the advocacy group.

The CEH previously advised women to avoid vinyl and faux leather accessory bags entirely and keep them away from children. While lead was present in bags of various colors, it was especially present in yellow, green and orange bags, the group said.

Purses were found to contain as much as 53,000 parts per million of lead, nearly 90 times more than what’s allowed in lead paint.

The new, voluntary standards allow no more than 90 ppm of lead in surface coatings, no more than 600 ppm in leather and no more than 300 ppm in vinyl and other materials, according to CEH.

For a full list of companies that have agreed to the new lead standards, visit ceh.org.

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