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Environmental Group Sues Retailers for Selling Lead-Tainted Purses

Audio

Aired 6/25/09

The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health has filed suit against a number of retailers for selling purses that contain high levels of lead. The lawsuit argues lead in purses and handbags is dangerous to consumers.

— The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health has filed suit against a number of retailers for selling purses that contain high levels of lead. The lawsuit argues lead in purses and handbags is dangerous to consumers.

The Center for Environmental Health says the lead-tainted bags are sold at Macy's, Target, and other major retailers. The group says testing shows some of the bags contain amounts of lead much higher than the federal standard for lead in paint.

Caroline Cox is CEH's director of research. She says women often carry a handbag all day long.

"You get it out when you're buying a sandwich for lunch, you might have a snack in your handbag," explains Cox. "So, when you touch the handbag if that lead is coming off on your hand, it's really easy to get it inside of you."

Lead exposure can cause nerve disorders in adults. It can lead to developmental delays in children.

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