Toxic Lead Found in Accessories at Major Retailers

Ross Stores and Burlington are among a selection of retailers who are listed as having sold items containing elevated levels of lead.

On Tuesday, nonprofit watchdog the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) published a report spanning 13 years that detailed and reported a systemic issue with toxic products sold by the discount retailers.

From 2009, CEH stated that it repeatedly found high levels of toxic lead in leather and faux leather fashion accessories sold by the retailers. The items included handbags, wallets, shoes, and belts. It is reported that in 2022 alone, more than 25 percent of the fashion accessories purchased from Ross and Burlington contained elevated lead levels above 0.03 percent and up to 1.7 percent in tests by CEH.

“Off-price retailers like Ross and Burlington are significant players in the fast fashion market,” said CEH CEO Kizzy Charles-Guzman. “The continued practice of selling fashion accessories containing toxic chemicals to lower-income shoppers is unconscionable. Affordability should not come at the cost of our health.”

Exposure to lead can cause, among other conditions, high blood pressure, headaches, stomach cramps and fatigue. Prolonged exposure to lead is associated with kidney and gastrointestinal disfunctions, as well as neurological effects including delayed reaction times, irritability and potentially seizures.

Medical experts say lead poisoning in children can cause permanent developmental issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure in children can damage the brain and nervous system; cause learning, hearing and speech problems; and lower their IQ.

In its report, CEH stated that it has notified Ross, Burlington, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, and TJ Maxx nearly 500 times that specific items they were selling contained elevated levels of lead. Per CEH, Ross, which operates as Ross Dress for Less, and Burlington, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, received more than 300 of these notices.

 

Article Source: Toxic Lead Found in Accessories at Major Retailers (newsweek.com)