Testing Finds High Levels of Lead and Cadmium in Urban Outfitters Jewelry
Contact: Emily DiFrisco, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 655-3900 x 307
April 20, 2023 Update:
Following the Center for Environmental Health’s (CEH) announcement of stunningly high levels of lead and cadmium found in Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal jewelry and fashion accessories, the company has removed the products for sale from its website.
“We are pleased that Urban Outfitters took swift action to address the lead and cadmium-tainted jewelry and fashion accessories sold under its so-called ‘sustainable’ Urban Renewal line,” said Caitlin Moher, Senior Research Coordinator at CEH. “In doing so, Urban Outfitters responded to the hundreds of consumers who signed our petition demanding that the company prioritize people’s health over their profits. We await a formal commitment from Urban Outfitters to basic product safety standards to ensure that jewelry sold under its Urban Renewal line does not contain any lead or cadmium, as there are no safe levels of these heavy metals.”
CEH is asking consumers to sign its petition to push Urban Outfitters to prevent this from happening again.
Oakland, CA – New testing by the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found high levels of toxic lead and cadmium in seven fashion accessories, including jewelry and belts, sold by Urban Outfitters. CEH tested 11 fashion accessory items from the popular fashion retailer’s “Urban Renewal” line, and found stunningly high levels of lead and cadmium (as high as 64% lead and 52% cadmium) in over half the products, despite the brand’s “sustainably-sourced” claim.
“Consumers are being needlessly exposed to toxic chemicals without their knowledge or consent,” said Kaya Allan Sugerman, Director of Illegal Toxic Threats at CEH. “This is particularly concerning because jewelry and belts are something that many of us handle every day. Pregnant people and people of childbearing age, who may purchase these items, are especially at risk because exposure to lead and cadmium can lead to problems getting pregnant, difficulties maintaining a pregnancy, and the increased likelihood of birth defects.”
Lead and cadmium exposure has also been linked to cancer and kidney damage.
“Even low levels of lead can have harmful, lifelong, and irreversible health effects on vulnerable populations like children,” said Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva, Science Director at the Center for Environmental Health.
Since 2003, CEH has led the effort to protect children and others from lead-tainted jewelry. CEH began widespread jewelry testing in 2003, and in 2004 filed the first legal action in the country to stop the sale of lead-tainted jewelry. This legal action spurred the largest product recall in U.S. history and led to a landmark agreement with Macy’s, Target, Wal-Mart and over 200 other companies to protect children from unsafe and potentially fatal exposures to lead. CEH’s legal settlement formed the basis for the tough lead in jewelry law adopted by California and later enacted as part of the federal law on lead in children’s products.
“Two decades after CEH began widespread jewelry testing, we are proud to say that most jewelry on store shelves does not have the lead and cadmium issues that the Urban Renewal line has,” said Caitlin Moher, Senior Research Coordinator at CEH. “Major retailers should never profit at the expense of our health, especially when claiming that their vintage line is ‘sustainably sourced’ and upcycled: that is blatant greenwashing.”
CEH is asking Urban Outfitters to commit to basic product safety standards to ensure that jewelry sold under its Urban Renewal line does not contain any lead or cadmium, as there are no safe levels of these heavy metals.