How to Make Sure Your Handbag Is Lead-Free

by Elyse James ; Updated September 28, 2017

If your purse contains lead, you are endangering your health every day.

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Lead has been scientifically proven to have ill effects your health — the presence of lead can cause infertility in women and high blood pressure and can even increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes. Although lead is most commonly found in paint used in older homes, it is also present in materials we use every day. In fact, recent studies have shown that lead levels in women’s handbags could be posing a health threat to women.

Step 1

Avoid purchasing a purse that is made out of vinyl. The Center for Environmental Health tested a number of purses from different stores and determined that they contained unsafe levels of lead. Of all the purses tested for lead, those that were made out of cheap materials such as vinyl had high traces of lead.

Step 2

Purchase your handbags from upscale vendors who use natural materials such as leather and canvas. If the purses do not contain labels giving the materials they contain, and the store cannot tell you what materials were used, avoid buying them.

Step 3

Stay away from vintage handbags made before items were tested for lead content. If you must buy secondhand items, search for ones made out of natural materials.

Step 4

Shop in stores that have agreed to phase out items that contain lead. After the CEH report in which purses were found to contain lead, the CEH asked more than 40 stores to agree to phase out lead products. These stores included Sears, Victoria’s Secret, Saks and Guess.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.