Is your Vicki’s Bra Making you Sick?

Lawsuit Claims Bras Caused Rashes, Scarring


Nov. 11, 2008 —

The secret is out for one of the world’s most recognizable lingerie brands, according to a potential class action lawsuit in which consumers claim they’ve experienced very uncomfortable symptoms, like rashes, hives and permanent scarring from Victoria’s Secret bras.

“I had the welts … very red, hot to the touch, extremely inflamed, blistery. It itched profusely,” said Roberta Ritter, who describes herself as a longtime Victoria’s Secret shopper. “I couldn’t sleep, waking up itching.

“I was just utterly sick,” she added.

Ritter, 37, filed a lawsuit against the company May 14 in relation to the Angels Secret Embrace and Very Sexy Extreme Me Push-Up bras she said she purchased.

But the Ohio resident isn’t alone in her complaint. Her lawyers said dozens of other women have contacted them with similar claims involving a number of the intimate brand’s collections. Many seek to be a part of the potential class action lawsuit.

“I was floored. I thought, ‘I have to come out with this. The can of worms has to be opened because it’s not just me, it’s other people as well,'” Ritter said.

The medical Web site also features numerous complaints against the underwear company.

“I, too, had an awful itchy, red splotchy rash from the Secret Embrace bras,” one poster complained.

Victoria’s Secret’s Response

A Victoria’s Secret spokesperson admitted the company had received direct complaints from customers, but added the bras remain on store shelves.

The company said it is investigating complaints and released a statement that said, “We are sorry that a small number of people have had an issue and we want to help them determine the cause.

“Customer safety and satisfaction are always our primary concerns and we take seriously any issues our customers may have with our products,” the statement continued.

Moving Forward

The firm representing Ritter has done some investigating of its own. The firm said it purchased the same bra types named in the suit from Victoria’s Secret and sent them to a lab. It said the bras tested positive for the chemical formaldehyde.

But, Victoria’s Secret denied the accusation.

“We have strict quality controls around our products, and we do not use formaldehyde in our bras,” the company said in a statement.

But Ritter’s attorney said somehow the chemical is making its way into the bras.

“It may not be something that they’re specifying to put in their bra, but somehow it’s making its way into the manufacturing process because it was certainly present,” said attorney Dawn Chmielewski of Climaco, Lefkowitz, Peca, Wilcox & Garofoli Co., L.P.A.

And though Ritter’s bra has not been tested, she said her doctor diagnosed her with an allergic reaction that could have been caused by formaldehyde.

“It’s not something you think about every day when you grab your underclothes, when you put them on, but it’s woken me up, and I just hope to wake people up to the reality that it can happen,” she said.

The class action paperwork already has been filed, but a judge won’t decide until May if enough evidence exists to move the case forward. Dozens of women are seeking compensation for medical bills and suffering as part of the claim.

This isn’t the first time a consumer has sued Victoria’s Secret. In June, a Los Angeles woman went after the retailer, claiming a thong malfunction injured her. She is seeking unspecified damages and the case has yet to be resolved.



5 responses to “Is your Vicki’s Bra Making you Sick?

  1. Aaminah Hernandez

    I have had a similar reaction to bras that were from other companies than Victoria’s Secret! In fact, the ONLY bras I can wear are Just My Size brand. Otherwise I get burning welts. My mother and I had assumed it might be because I have a mild latex allergy and that the bottom bands of many bras might have some kind of latex in them, similar to the rubber strings are used in the waistline of many underwear brands (I can’t wear that sort of underwear either). It never would have occurred to me that there could be other chemicals and problems in the bra.

    FYI, women should know that there are other companies that sell bras under their name but that were manufactured by VS too, such as Lane Bryant.

  2. ASA,

    Thanks for mentioning the other VS companies. I forgot about them!

    I bought a bra from JC Penny (I can’t remember who made it) and I developed a rash. At first I thought I just needed to get used to it or something but every time I put it on I’d develop the same rash. It makes me wonder what chemicals were on it…

  3. Salaams Sis:

    I, too, have had similar reactions. I ended up throwing out all my bras and buying the type with “no hardware” at all in them. I thought it was the “hardware” that was causing the problem.

    Gheez; it’s always something 😦

  4. Pingback: Class Action Blogosphere Weekly Review «

  5. Just dropping in a link that goes over some of the problems of the case facts:

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