In 2009, CEH began investigating and testing purses and other accessories for lead. We found high levels of lead in hundreds of these products, most often in items in bright colors such as yellow, green, orange, and red.

CEH took legal action against major brands and retailers for sales of lead-tainted purses, including Nordstrom, Forever 21, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Juicy Couture, BCBG, and TJ Maxx and many others. Our work resulted in legal agreements with these and more than 200 major fashion brands and retailers, requiring them to eliminate lead risks from their purses and accessories.

Since the beginning of 2012 we have been checking up on these brands and retailers. We test their purses, belts, and shoes for lead to make sure that they are complying with these legal agreements. Since we started our work, there has been a noticeable decrease in the prevalence of lead-tainted items, but we are still finding too many toxic purses and other accessories.

Check out our Toxic Fashion infographic