If your child's sippy cup had lead paint on it, would you want to know? Would you want the cup recalled? If you own a Green Sprouts Glass Sip n' Straw Cup, keep reading!
UPDATE (Feb 23rd, 2017): Green Sprouts has issued a statement saying it will not recall these cups despite the high amount of lead in the paint because it "meets all safety standards." See their statement here.
The only way I can fathom that this would be possible would be if they chose to do their testing via a method called "digestive testing" where you grind up the entire object being tested down to dust and then test to see how much lead is present in the dust. Even if this method produces an "acceptable" result because the paint is now diluted when mixed up with the rest of the cup, the truth is that the paint on the glass liner still contains 3000 - 4000 PPM lead. For context: if the paint on the walls in your home contained this much lead, your home would be considered a "lead paint hazard."
Green Sprouts is offering paint-free glass liners to parents who call and request them. As a mom, I personally think that I should not have to call a company to specifically request a lead free option of a sippy cup for my child. I will be purchasing sippy cups from other companies whose products have tested lead free and will no longer be purchasing any products from Green Sprouts.
If you would like to call them at 1-800-876-1574 you can tell them how you feel and request a lead-free cup if desired.
In January of 2017, my personal friend and lead expert, Tamara Rubin did a series of tests on consumer goods using an XRF instrument. An XRF (short for "x-ray florescence spectrometer") is used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to test lead content of items. This is the same instrument used by Tamara, who is a trained and certified XRF operator. You can see a sample video of Tamara and I testing baby goods for lead here:
The same week that Tamara tested my baby items for lead, one of Tamara's followers wanted her child's sippy cup tested for lead so she bought a brand new Green Sprouts Sip N' Straw cup (the same kind she uses) on Amazon and had it sent directly to Tamara.
Tamara tested all of the components of the cup and was shocked to find that the paint on the glass inner cup contained more than 3000 PPM lead. For reference, 90 PPM is the amount of lead allowed in consumer goods marketed for children in the USA and 600 PPM lead is the maximum amount of lead that house paint can have before it is considered "lead paint" so 3000 PPM lead is very concerning.
Julie Watts, a consumer-investigative reporter from CBS San Francisco did her own investigation after Natural Baby Mama reported on the results of Tamara's testing and her test showed the paint testing at more than 4000 PPM lead. You can watch her report on it here:
So what now???
After both Tamara and the mom contacted Green Sprouts, they issued a voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution and self-reported the issue to the CPSC.
This initial response from Green Sprouts was great. You would expect a company whose entire business model is built on creating non-toxic products for children to recall an item like this when it is found to contain a large amount of a known neurotoxin. Good job, Green Sprouts, we thought. But then....
They Recalled the Recall
On February 10th, 2017 Green Sprouts said they would do a recall.
Then on February 11th, 2017 they backtracked and said that they were going to work with the CPSC to do further testing before deciding if they wanted to move forward with a recall.
So I called Green Sprouts
Actually, I emailed them first (want to email them? Use: firstname.lastname@example.org). But then I got an auto-response saying that they are getting more emails than usual and to call them if you wanted information right away.
So on the morning of February 15th I called.
"Hi, I am calling for more information on the lead in the Glass Sip n' Straw cups. I saw there was a voluntary recall on them and then you UN-recalled them. I was hoping to get more information on why you decided to do that."
The woman I was talking to said: "There was never a recall on these cups."
So I tried again: "But I saw that you did a voluntary recall and then came out later and said that the cups were safe so you weren't going to recall them any more. Do you have more information on that?"
She then asked to put me on hold and transferred me to someone else. Scott picked up.
Scott told me that when the claim of lead in the paint was brought to their attention they made an initial statement saying they would do a recall but then the CPSC told them not to. Scott said the CPSC thought the testing was inadequate to warrant issuing a recall. Green Sprouts then sent cups then to the CPSC to do their own testing.
(note from Carissa: While the CPSC can mandate that a recall can be issued, they cannot stop a company from recalling an item on it's own. So the idea that the CPSC told them not to do a recall is....suspicious.)
I asked what kind of testing the CPSC was doing and how it would differ from what Tamara and CBS in San Francisco did. Scott didn't know.
I told Scott that I was concerned the CPSC would be doing "digestive testing" where they grind up the whole cup and then test the dust for lead and if the test comes back at less than 90 PPM lead, they will say it is safe when 3000-4000 PPM of lead in paint that kids have access to is clearly NOT SAFE.
Scott said he "understood".
Scott then let me know that Green Sprouts has ordered a large batch of unpainted glass inserts so that they can replace the ones with paint.
I let him know I know several moms who have thrown their cups away due to the lead issue and now they don't have a cup with an insert to replace. Will Green Sprouts send those moms brand new cups? He told me they would.
What Should You Do?
If I owned one of these cups, this is what I would do:
- ●Stop using the cup immediately and switch to a 100% lead free cup like the Safe Sippy or a stainless steel Thermos Foogo Straw cup. Tamara tested these cups in my home last month and found no lead or cadmium in the ones in my cupboard.
- ●Contact the company to express extreme displeasure with the situation, disappointment that the cups are not being recalled and ask for lead-free replacement glass inserts. You can contact them by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-876-1574.
- ●Review them online. In my view, mamas have to stick together. Since the company is not currently recalling the cups, I would want to be sure that consumers know about the problem with lead in these. You may want to leave reviews on an online shopping site like Amazon. You can also click on the reviews to mark reviews about lead as "helpful" on Amazon to help bump them to the top.
- ●Contact the store you bought them from. Since Green Sprouts has not issued an official recall, the store the cup was purchased from may not know about the issue with lead in the glass. If I bought a cup either online or at a brick-and-mortar store, I would make sure they knew about this issue.
- ●Share this post. Like I said: Mamas have to stick together. If you have one of these cups, chances are good one of your friends might as well. Please share this post and join the Creative Green Living Community Group to stay up-to-date on this issue.
I take great pride in my thoughtful research and fact-based blog posts and conclusions. This post was crafted based on publicly available information and contains facts as understood by the author at the time of writing. Questions or corrections of fact may be submitted to the author at Carissa@creativegreenliving.com.
For further reading, please see:
- A copy of the letter sent to Green Sprouts by Tamara Rubin.
- Green Sprouts Sippy Cup Tests Positive for Lead, What You Need to Know on Natural Baby Mama
- CBS San Francisco's independent report on this issue (news article)
- CBS San Francisco's independent report on this issue (news broadcast)
- iPlay Baby's statement regarding the issue of lead in thier sippy cups
About the Author:
Carissa is a green lifestyle advocate and mom of two active boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More as well as the forthcoming hardcover cookbook (spring 2017), Beautiful Smoothie Bowls. Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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