The Doctors: Lead in Your Purse and Lead Poisoning in Children


The Doctors: Center for Environmental Health Tests for Lead in Purses

A surprising accessory that many women use every day – their purse – can carry dangerous levels of lead. The Doctors tested several handbags at the Center for Environmental Health (CEH).

A high-tech machine called an X-ray fluorescence analyzer measures the amount of metal in things. When you press the button on the analyzer, it creates an X-ray beam that shoots into the item and then lets you know what kinds of metal it has found.


When the CEH screens a purse, they examine all the different materials that the purse is made out of. Each test takes only 60 seconds. If there are high levels of lead, the machine will read the purse as a fail. The CEH conducts these tests to make sure things on store shelves are safe for your family.

The Doctors: Lead is Usually in Bright Colored Purses

The Doctors: Lead in Your Purse and Lead Poisoning in Children

Many purses contain alarming amounts of lead, which can lead to lead poisoning. Brightly-colored handbags are more likely to have high amounts of lead in them.

Out of the five purses that The Doctors tested, one of them had lead in it. The scientists who tested the bags were surprised to see that the lead bag was black, because usually lead is put into brightly-colored bags to stabilize their color.


Lead, which is essentially a metal, can enter your body in two ways without you even knowing: you can breathe it in or your can ingest it. Kids are known for ingesting lead when they’re around paint that has lead in it, or certain toys.

The Doctors: What Does Lead Do to a Child’s Body?

One lead is in your body, it travels down your bloodstream. If it’s just a small amount of lead, your kidneys should be able to filter it out, but a large quantity of lead will get stored in your bones. Lead will leak out of your bones back into your bloodstream, where it can affect your body from head to toe.

Kids are much more prone to lead problems. Lead in kids can lead to growth problems and learning problems. Lead poisoning symptoms in children are irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain or vomiting, constipation or learning difficulties.

The Doctors: Leafy Greens Can Prevent Lead Absorption

Also, the better your child’s diet and the more healthy they eat, the less lead they will absorb. Make sure your child is getting lots of leafy greens in their food – calcium, iron and zinc and protect them from the lead.

Moms need to be aware of pacifiers and other children’s toys that they might throw in their lead-infested purses. Purses made of vinyl and polyurethane have a higher chance of having lead in them. Dr. Lisa Masterson said you’re better off if you stick to natural fabrics like leather and canvas.


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