Stanley cups are the stainless steel water bottles that have taken over the world. The viral tumblers, namely its 40-ounce Quencher cup, are known for its variety of colours and knack for keeping drinks cool for 48 hours. The products have even become somewhat of a status symbol, with one mother claiming her daughter was bullied for owning an off-brand cup and another woman allegedly stealing $2,500 worth of Stanley products.
Amid the viral craze, some concerned customers have claimed on social media that drinking from a Stanley cup may pose certain health risks. In a series of posts shared to TikTok, people have said they performed at-home lead tests on their cups. TikTok user Lead Safe Mama, whose content aims to create awareness toward childhood lead poisoning prevention, shared a video of herself testing the bottom of her Stanley cup for lead, urging that “all of the lead be removed from kitchenware especially items that might be used by a child”.
Several videos of customers testing their Stanley products for lead showed mixed results, with some of their tests turning up negative while others showed a changing colour indicating the presence of lead.
Now, Stanley has clarified whether their popular products are safe to drink from. In a statement to The Independent, a Stanley spokesperson said that lead is used in the manufacturing process of Stanley cups. However, they emphasised that the product needs to become damaged to expose the lead.
“Our manufacturing process currently employs the use of an industry standard pellet to seal the vacuum insulation at the base of our products; the sealing material includes some lead. Once sealed, this area is covered with a durable stainless steel layer, making it inaccessible to consumers,” the spokesperson said, adding that Stanley products meet all United States regulatory requirements.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body over an extended period of time. According to the Mayo Clinic, children aged six or younger are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can affect mental and physical development.
Common sources of lead poisoning include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings, as well as contaminated air, water, and soil. It can be caused by breathing in lead dust or particles, touching a surface where lead is present, and ingesting trace amounts of the material.
Symptoms of lead exposure can initially be difficult to detect, and usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts of lead have accumulated in the body. For children, some signs of lead poisoning include developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, hearing loss, seizures or eating substances that aren’t edible, such as paint chips.
Some symptoms of lead poisoning in adults may also be high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, difficulties with memory or concentration, headaches, abdominal pain, mood disorders, reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm, and miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth in pregnant women.
If a Stanley cup becomes damaged and exposes the pellet used to seal the cup’s vacuum insulation, customers can submit a claim through the company’s lifetime warranty.