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3 Ways Your Handbag Is Hazardous To Your Health

Pick a shoulder bag with thicker straps.

1. It gives you body pains. According to the American Chiropractic Association, your bag should weigh no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Lugging a heavy bag can lead to shoulder and back pain, while using thin straps or uncomfortable metal straps also contribute to the pain. [via Everyday Health] If you’ve developed a habit of carrying your bag on one side of your body, the uneven weight distribution can cause muscle imbalances, like one shoulder being more developed than the other, or body alignment issues, like one shoulder being higher than the other. [Women’s Health]

Solution: When carrying a shoulder bag, get into the habit of switching sides every few minutes or so. When purchasing a bag you plan to use daily, choose one with thicker straps because they distribute weight better. According to Dr. Oz, the ideal comfortable weight of a purse or handbag should be between 3-5 lbs. only. Lighten your daily load by removing unnecessary items from your bag.

2. It’s a breeding ground for bacteria. According to Reader’s Digest, the average handbag is three times dirtier than a toilet seat, which is why it made it to our list of 10 Everyday Things Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat. Are you guilty of wiping your nose and stuffing the used tissue or hanky in your bag? Aside from the germy items we store—a snotty hanky, makeup, keys, wallet, loose change, and your grimy gadgets—our favorite handbags are exposed to fecal matter. We hang it on the hook of a public toilet, place it on public seats and tabletops, and leave it on the floor when there’s nowhere else to put it.

Solution: Avoid placing your bag on bathroom counters and sinks. Use a bag hook when dining in restaurants. Don’t store used tissue in your bag. Use antibacterial wipes to clean your bag at the end of the day, or Google for proper ways to clean your bag if you’re afraid to ruin the designer material. The dirtiest part of the handbag is the handle, so wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. Never place your bag on your bed!

3. There’s lead content. A 2009 study done by The Center for Environment Health (CEH) found excessive lead levels in purses from 16 of 21 stores they visited. While environmental groups around the world have convinced retails shops to minimize or eliminate lead content from their products, there’s no guarantee in when it comes to knock-off bazaars and other shops that lack health and sanitation permits. CEH warns that every time you carry or touch your purse, a small amount of lead gets into your fingers.

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Solution: CEH suggests that when purchasing wallets, handbags or other accessories, it’s best to look for items made of natural materials. If you already own bags made of faux leather, plastic, and other machine-processed materials, make sure you wash your hands after handling them.

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