Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, JC Penney, and Others, Agree to Limit Lead in Handbags

by | Jun 4, 2010

More than 40 major apparel retailers and vendors, including Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and JC Penney have agreed to set new industry standards that limit lead in handbags and other fashion products as part of a $1.7 million settlement with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in Oakland, Calif., reports Just-Style.

The companies have agreed to pay nearly $1.7 million, which includes payments to the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and to CEH for ongoing work to protect Californians from toxic health hazards, legal expenses, and to create a testing fund to monitor for compliance with the terms of the agreement.

The advocacy group filed a lawsuit last year against the retailers after finding high levels of lead in hundreds of purses and other accessories, which can pose a health threat, especially to pregnant women and women of child-bearing age, reports Just-Style.

While federal law requires that materials in products for children contain no more than 300 parts per million (ppm) of lead, there is no federal standard for lead in purses, says CEH.

Several toymakers have faced either fines or recalls over the past few years due to toys tainted with high levels of lead.

Under the agreement, the companies will  implement new handbag standards for materials in handbags and other accessories by December 1, 2010. Some have agreed to extend the agreement to belts and/or footwear. The new standards:

–No more than 90 ppm of lead in paint or other surface coatings

–No more than 600 ppm of lead in leather (down to 300 ppm by December 1, 2011)

–No more than 300 ppm of lead in vinyl (down to 200 ppm by December 1, 2011)

–No more than 300 ppm of lead in any other materials (except crystals)

Violations of these standards could result in mandatory fines of up to $12,500.

The settlement allows other accessory companies to opt-in to the judgment by agreeing to reformulate their products and by making a monetary payment.

Here is a list of companies that have settled with CEH.

–Acme Accessories

–AIJJ (Rainbow, 5-7-9 stores)


–American Eagle

–Bag Bazaar

–Camuto Consulting (Vince Camuto brand)

–Coldwater Creek

–Diesel usa

–DSW Shoe Warehouse



–Fantasia Accessories

–Forever 21




–JC Penney

–Jones Apparel (Nine West)



–Liz Claiborne (Juicy Couture, Kate Spade)


–Mango NY

–Metropark USA

–Michael Kohrs


–New York & Company (Lerner NY)

–Pacific Worldwide

–Phillips-Van Heusen/Calvin Klein

–Phillips-Van Heusen/Calvin Klein

–Ray Enterprises (Hobo Intl)


–Saks Inc

–San Diego Hat

–Sanrio (Hello Kitty)


–Steve Madden


–The Dress Barn

–TJX Co (TJ Maxx)

–Urban Brands/Ashley Stewart

–Victoria Secret/Bath & Body Works

–Viewmark USA

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

Share This