Stanley Cups Have Lead In Them—Here's What You Need To Know

Bad news, girls – the $35 Stanley Cups we fought over at Target have lead in them.

By Nicole Dominique2 min read

Maybe we should stop hopping on trends.

The Stanley cup craze that we witnessed in 2023 was jarring, to say the least. Stores were limiting how many cups customers could buy. Girls were crying over not receiving it as a gift on Christmas. One woman was even caught stealing $3,800 worth of Stanley cups, and middle schoolers are getting bullied for not having them.

Turns out, the beloved Stanley cups have lead in them.

Screenshots on Facebook show a woman named Stephanie Flannery testing three of her Stanley tumblers for lead. "I saw another post on social media talking about Stanley's having lead. So, I ordered some test swabs on Amazon and this was my results," she wrote, adding photos of swabs next to a Stanley and two other tumblers from different brands.

"I rubbed it on the inside of the cup where the drink is. I tested a Yeti, Rtic and Stanley. The Yeti and Rtic remained yellow resulting in a negative for lead. The Stanley did not. Every single Stanley I owned showed positive for lead. I just wanted to share because I know a lot of us have them."

It's true. The lead is very much in the tumblers we're drinking out of. However, the company asserts that we shouldn't be concerned because there's a protective layer over 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,” a Stanley spokesperson said in a statement. “Once sealed, this area is covered with a durable stainless steel layer, making it inaccessible to consumers.”

“Rest assured that no lead is present on the surface of any Stanley product that comes into contact with the consumer nor the contents of the product," they added.  In a separate statement to NBC affiliate WCNC of Charlotte, North Carolina, Stanley asserted that its products follow all U.S. regulatory requirements.

To summarize, the company states that the lead is inaccessible unless the stainless steel carrier comes off, which is possible but "rare," according to the spokesperson.

Basically, Stanley's response is, Yes, our products contain a metal that can cause damage to the brain and nervous system when someone is exposed to high levels, but don't worry, you can totally take your chance with it.

Then again, we all saw that car wreck video with the Stanley tumbler still intact in the cup holder. Perhaps they really do have the best engineers, and it's nothing to be concerned about. In my opinion, we should be worried about it. Our health should be prioritized. And considering how Stanley Black & Decker Inc. is currently worth $14 billion, I'm sure they can afford other alternatives.

Olga Naidenko, the VP of science investigations at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, spoke out about the issue. “In insulated cups, lead was used in solder that seals the vacuum between the inner and the outer layer of a cup,” she said in an email. “Many manufacturers are now stating that they are using alternatives to lead for sealing vacuum in those types of cups.”

Naidenko added, "Any potential lead exposure is unacceptable, and companies should move to make these products without lead."

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