Formaldehyde in Bras Victoria's Secret

Is There Formaldehyde In Your Bra?

Good Morning America has an interesting piece today about the claim the Victoria’s Secret using Formaldehyde in their popular bras.

This appears to be the case 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.

Roberta, 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.

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.

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.

Independant testing done on the same bra types named in the suit from Victoria’s Secret has found the chemical formaldehyde present.

This claim is being disputed by the lingerie giant.

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

“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.

This is all very interesting to me because I keep breaking out in bumps around the area that my bra covers. Just last week I told my husband I thought that my bra was causing the itching rashes, but he thinks I’m crazy… Am I?


About the author

Lisa Arneill

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!


  • I have a rash/welts right around my bra area as well. I only wear Victoria Secret bras…does anyone have any info to find out more about this? Lawyers name?

  • Dawn Chmielewski of Climaco, Lefkowitz, Peca, Wilcox & Garofoli Co issued the statement.

    Phone: (216) 621-8484 for more information. I called this morning and someone at the lawfirm confirmed that they are looking after this lawsuit.

  • I purchased a bra at Target, in order to pay less money, in 2005. I developed an itchy area on the right side where the bra touched my skin in the front. Then after a few days I noticed marks on the skin in that same place. I immediately saw my dermatologist about it. He told me that it is a regular practice for lingerie manufacturers to put formaldehyde in their finished product. That is why it is so important to wash our lingerie before wearing it. However, sometimes the washing does not remove all of the chemical, and some people are more sensitive to it than others. I had washed mine first before wearing it. It is now 2008, and I still have the marks on my skin, and the itch comes back now and then. It looks like it will never go away. I get a thermography (heat sensitive) exam in place of a mammogram each year. That exam shows a concentration of heat in the place where the formaldehyde left marks on my skin – which means damaged tissue. Every bra manufacturer is guilty, not just Victoria’s Secret. Buyer Beware!

  • i have had several bras over a period of fifteen years make me itch and leave marks.bras from walmart,target,mervyns,victoria secrets,and even fredricks of hollywood have all made me have this problem.

  • Wow! I have had the very same problem for about 2 months now! But thought I was either sweating more while I had my bra on or, maybe it was because I had changed soaps. I itch terribly under both of my breasts, have welps and blisters. However, my bras are not from Victora’s Secret, mine are Hanes. Would love to know if anyone else is having problems with them also. I bought 3 at the same time and am not getting any relief with washing them everyday, etc. Perhaps there should be a class action suit against all bra manufacturers, as it seems that we all are suffering, and it is not just one certain brand.

    • I, too bought Hanes bras (Petals) and get itchy rashes on my breasts from wearing them. I washed them a number of times, but still get the rashes. So, I can’t wear them. I bought them in 2012. Have you heard since your posting of what is causing the problem?

  • I have had the same problem with a “Champion” sports bra (made in USA) which was purchased at a Costco store. Wore it and washed it quite a few times but i never put two and two together until I heard about this on the news. I get hives and rash when I wear this bra but also some others in my relatively new collection of bras. I recently had breast reduction surgery and assumed I was having some post surgical reaction (except that it is three months later and the reactions only started after I started going back to work and wearing my new bras. The sports bras (Champion) were really comfortable but I keep breaking out in hives. I tested it by putting one on for an hour when I had no hives for awhile and sure enough after an hour in the bra I was breaking out again!

    • Have the same problem with Costco brand champion sports bras – just purchased in Feb 2014 — had to go to emergency ( swelling, red, hives) couldn’t move my arms for two days ) is there still a class action lawsuit going on with these products?

  • I had been wearing my 2 new Victoria’s Secret bras (Angels) for several months before a reaction set in. I took a couple of months to figure out it may be related to the bras. I have discolorations on the skin and experienced severe itching. Hope it’s not permanent!

  • I have this problem continually with pretty much every bra I wear even though I do not shop at VS.

    Please: If ANYONE knows of a safe brand that does NOT contain harmful chemicals- please post and contact me:

    We need NATIONAL LEGISLATION to prevent this.

  • I just called the number listed above for the firm supposedly handling the VS class action and they said they have dropped the case b/c they could not find an expert witness. Is this case dead?

    Is there a support group/newsgroup anywhere?

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