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    • Debra DeAngelo

    • February 16, 2014 in Columnists

    No more Secret — give a hoot for your hooters and burn those bras

    So, I have this blog that, for the most part, has almost zero activity because I am simply unable to get past my OCDness and just write things willy-nilly and let them fly, typos and all. When it comes to writing, I’m like Marilyn Monroe — she never appeared in public until she was satisfied that she was perfectly dressed, and neither does my writing. Divas. It’s how we roll.

    Consequently, one must wave through the cobwebs to read my blog, and I don’t even have it bookmarked myself. I have to look up the address by googling my name plus “wordpress” to get to it. That said, there is one post on the blog, which later became an actual column last summer, that’s still getting respectable traffic: the one on breast rashes caused by Victoria’s Secret bras.

    Yes, women are STILL slowly realizing that their lovely and very expensive bras are causing the itchy, raw red streaks and patches on their breasts, googling around, and landing on my obscure little blog, expressing gratitude for finding some validation on what is happening to them. Many of them, like myself, are (were!) longtime, loyal VS customers, and are not only disappointed that their favorite product is causing so much discomfort, but outraged that although VS is aware of the problem (there are class action suits that prove it), VS doesn’t care. It continues to put out a product laced with formaldehyde, and this is not merely speculation. Some of their bras were laboratory tested, and the presence of formaldehyde confirmed. I won’t bore you with all the web links, but you’ll find them on my blog.

    Just last week, a woman named Jean posted a comment on the May 3, 2013 post, entitled, “Victoria’s Secret May Be Putting More Into Their Bras Than Boobies,” that she’d set out in search of an acceptable substitute for VS bras and chose Maidenform. Much to her horror, after wearing the bras for awhile, she got the rash again. She looked at the label and like the VS bras, these also were made in China.

    Well, this isn’t too hard to figure out. It’s the actual fabric made in China causing the issue, and that fabric could be used on anything. Or, maybe VS also manufactures Maidenform bras. The common denominator is Chinese fabric and the “Made in China” label. The bra rashes didn’t occur until VS switched to a Chinese manufacturer.

    Jean posed a painfully obvious question: Why can’t an American company start making bras, right here in the U.S., made from fabric also made right here in the U.S.? We grow cotton here, tons of it, in fact, and 100 percent cotton bras are the best (in my opinion), so why can’t we befriend the boobies and manufacture bras that won’t hurt them? Expense is not the issue, because as anyone who has ever purchased a Victoria’s Secret bra will tell you, they aren’t cheap. They can easily cost upwards of $40 apiece and I am absolutely certain this is about a 75 percent markup and mostly profit. You’re paying $38 for the Victoria’s Secret label and two bucks for the bra. Certainly an American factory with American workers and American formaldehyde-free fabric could produces a little scrap of fabric, wire and elastic for $40 a pop.

    As boob-crazy as this country is, you’d think there’d be a little more concern over the proper care and feeding of the All-American breast than to allow them to be exposed to dangerous chemicals and end up sad, itchy and inflamed. I can tell you this: If men were having this problem with their tighty-whities, something would be done. On the other hand, maybe it IS happening to men, and they don’t realize what’s causing it.

    Guys — you THINK you have jock itch. Check your underwear – were they made in China? If so, test it out — find a product that’s not manufactured in China (if that’s even possible anymore) and wear that for awhile. See if the rash goes away. Then switch back. See if it returns. This is how women, including myself, finally identified the source of our problem.

    Besides the disappointing realization that Victoria’s Secret is willfully producing a harmful product, the overriding issue is that the U.S. government does a piss-poor job of inspecting food and products that come from China. I believe the current inspection rate for food coming from China is only about 3 percent, so that leaves a whopping 97 percent gap for contaminated food to slip through and onto our tables.

    If they’re only inspecting 3 percent of food, I’d imagine that the inspection rate for products is even weaker, and we probably don’t know they’re poisoned until a bunch of infants turn up with lead poisoning after chewing on teething rings covered in lead paint. As for bra inspections? Pssshhh…. the government doesn’t give a hoot about that. So, ladies, we must give a hoot about our own hooters and start checking labels. The easy solution is don’t purchase Victoria’s Secret products AT ALL, in protest of their shoddy business practices and lack of concern for customer loyalty. Beyond that, look at labels. Does it say “Made in China”? Don’t buy it. That simple. “Made in the USA” but costs twice as much? Buy that. I’d rather have one expensive American made item than five cheap, poisonous Chinese ones, whatever it is.

    The bottom line is this: Our own government doesn’t seem to care that we are purchasing bras infused with harmful chemicals, and as little as it cares, you can bet that the Chinese government cares even less. They throw their own daughters over cliffs. I rather doubt that they care if they’re harming American women.

    Buy American or don’t buy at all. You’re better off going braless. Let’s resurrect the braless movement of the ’70s — let’s burn those bras.



      • Maya North

      • February 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm
      • Reply

      Cotton sports bras. Seriously. Besides, since the weight loss, my girls have been cowering on the bottom of every brassiere I used to own and when let lose for sleep, snuggle up in my armpit so as not to be noticed 😉

    • I go to a specialty shop for my bras and pay a fortune and have no issues. All made in China, I just looked. All one style, only different colors. I only wear one about 4 hours a day and on busy days maybe 6 hours and some days, none at all. After 3pm mine are off unless I then go out to dinner and then only 2 hours more. I am a lazy bra wearer.

    • Yes, since my horrible experience last year with my new VS bras, I’ve switched back to my old ones. Bra shopping is awful in the best of times, we don’t need this additional factor! I love La Vie en Rose, but I checked and their bras are manufactured in the PRC (People’s Republic of China – to me that’s a sure sign they’re aware of the potential adverse reaction to “Made in China” labels!) so I won’t buy them. Simple as that.
      Every time I see a Victoria’s Secret ad and I’m around anyone, I make sure to make a remark about the company being an outrage. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen (and some who won’t!). Why in the world should anyone support a company like that?! It’s absolutely unbelievable that they’re not being held accountable!

      • jacquelyn Strayer

      • June 18, 2014 at 10:00 am
      • Reply

      I have had this very same thing happen to me! I got a new VS bra for my birthday in 2010 when I noticed this terrible painfully itchy rash under my breasts. I could not get rid of it no matter what I used. Finally I talked to a pharmacist who suggested Lotrimin cream. She said from my description it sounded like a fungal infection. I used it for a couple of weeks and the rash finally dried up. At that time I went on line and found the class action information that was filed back in 2008 against VS for bras that were causing skin rashes.
      I did not see any follow through or evidence that any action had taken place.
      After that I stopped wearing the bra just in case it was what was causing the rash.
      In May of this year 2014 I got a gift card for my birthday and decided to purchase another bra.
      It was a different fabric, a softer t-shirt type bra. I had forgotten about the other bra and what happened in 2010….. I wore it one time….and there it was! The rash! I couldn’t believe it.
      I know now that the bra is what caused it for sure! The biggest problem is, once the rash starts…even just the slightest bit….it begins to spread…even if the bra is no longer worn.
      Before purchasing the 2nd bra from VS I had been wearing the Warners brand from a Macy’s
      store and had never had any problem with a rash. I purchased the VS bra thinking I was getting a more “quality” product.
      I will never purchase another VS bra. I have never had a problem with the underwear or any other products I have purchased. It is just the bras. And …apparently any style or type of fabric. I wish someone could really get a class action case against them, I would love to be a part of it, and make them accountable for a terrible product.I will definitely spread the word as not to purchase a bra from VS.

      • jacquelyn Strayer

      • June 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm
      • Reply

      Interestingly…. the newest bra from VS was not made in China…it was from India. The one I have bought previously was made in Indonesia. Those bras caused the rash. The Warner bra purchased from Macys was made in China and did not cause the rash. I don’t think China is the problem. Not this time.

      • Jacquelyn, you’re saying you recently bought bras from VS, that were made in India and Indonesia, and you got the rash? If that is the case, I suspect that the fabric is being made in China, containing formaldehyde, and being shipped to factories elsewhere. Up to this point, you are the first person to report a rash from a VS bra not made in China. No one has reported a rash from any other brand, regardless of where it was made.

        • I wore a VS bra made in Sri Lanka for about 2 days recently, because I couldn’t remember if it was one of the ones that made me react last year. Yup, itchy again!

          • jacquelyn Strayer

          • July 1, 2014 at 2:09 am

          Yes Debra, one was from India and the other from Indonesia. The bras were purchased on May 11th 2014. This time the rash is worse and will not go away……. It’s July 1st! ….. someone please help.

      • jacquelyn Strayer

      • July 1, 2014 at 2:14 am
      • Reply

      I think you’re right, the fabric could very well be made in China and shipped elsewhere. Whatever the case, this rash is the worst I’ve ever had and so far will not go away.

      • Rose Duran

      • October 31, 2014 at 11:21 pm
      • Reply

      I bought my VS bras September 15..crazy itchy breast nightmare!!! Made in Sri Lanka! Fabric must all originate in China and bras assembled in factories elsewhere.. I want my $160 back…and my pretty boobies to live in peace! VS, what a nightmare. I’d rather spend more (for good healthy fabrics). Too bad the beautiful styling is wasted on formaldehyde-infested fabrics! This is unacceptable merchandising in the U.S. Please contact me for any “class action” lawsuit

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