UPDATE on Lead in Green Sprouts Sippy Cups: What you need to know!

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 III (March 2, 2017): The Founder and President of Green Sprouts, Becky Cannon and the Vice President, Emi Kubota, sent me an apology via email. The full text of the apology letter can be read here.

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UPDATE II (Feb 26, 2017): Green Sprouts has sent me a "cease and desist" style letter via their lawyer because they do not want this blog post to remain on the web. Read the letter and what I am doing about it here: Green Sprouts Hired a Lawyer to Shut Me Up. I Will Not Stop Talking.

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UPDATE (Feb 25th, 2017): Green Sprouts issued a statement on February 22, 2017 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 object being tested down to dust and then test to see how much lead is present in the dust. A lawyer representing Green Sprouts called to tell me this is NOT how they tested their cups but refused to tell me how the testing was done or what the results of their lab tests were. Interesting.

Regardless of how Green Sprouts conducted their testing, the truth is that the paint on the glass liner still reads as containing 3000 - 4000 PPM lead when tested with an XRF. For context: if the paint on the walls in your home contained this much lead, your home would be considered a "lead paint hazard" and HUD would say it is unsafe for children to live there until the lead paint has been sealed or removed. Do you want paint with this much lead to be part of your child's sippy cup? I don't.

The paint on the cups ALSO tests positive when tested with a LeadCheck swab. LeadCheck swabs are specifically designed to test paint and wil turn red when 600 PPM of lead or higher is present. I am aware of at least a dozen leadcheck swab tests done by moms across the country where the paint on their Glass Sip N Straw cups turned red and the swabs turned red when tested with a LeadCheck swab. Clearly there is lead in this paint. Even if that is unflattering information it doesn't make it untrue.

Conclusion: there is lead in the paint on the glass inserts of Glass Sip N Straw Cups tested by Tamara and at least a dozen other moms across the country.

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 Green Sprouts at 1-800-876-1574 you can tell them how you feel and request a lead-free glass inner cup if desired. 
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What Happened?

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 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, 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: contactus@iplaybaby.com). 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."

Hmmm. Interesting....

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:

  1. ●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.
  2. ●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 contactus@iplaybaby.com or by phone at 1-800-876-1574.
  3. ●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.
  4. ●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.
  5. ●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 information available in February, 2017 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:

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 PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.

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  1. Thank you so much for all of this! I left a message with the company after doing a positive home test, hopefully they call me back with advise as to what to do about this.

  2. PLEASE parents: have your children's blood lead levels checked if they ever used this cup. Our pediatrician strongly recommended this. Also, test the inside of your glass cups for lead. Our's tested POSITIVE (meaning that our little boy consumed lead from this product, multiple times a day for the last year). Perhaps the lead paint comes off and is distributed to other areas of this product over time, with repeat washing.

    I just spoke with Green Sprouts about this issue this morning, and urged them to deal with this issue in a transparent and proactive manner, including notifying parents of the potential for lead to spread to other areas of the product. The manager simply parroted what seemed like a script - that their product was found to be safe and that the company does not believe any further steps are necessary. When I asked her why the notice to parents about this issue has been removed from the front page of their website, I was told the company believes it has already been transparent enough.

    I will NEVER buy from this company again. Dishonest and dangerous.

    1. If the leaded paint on the inserts slowly chalks off during normal handling, etc, I totally see how lead could have gotten inside. I'm SO SORRY to hear that happened to your kiddo.

      I am working on an updated blog post about this (so many things have happened since I wrote this first post that I need to do an entire additional post at this point). But I agree about being VERY UNHAPPY about the company and their approach to things as a whole. I used to recommend many of their products and after this happened I don't feel like I can trust them at all and will no longer purchase items from iplay or Green Sprouts.

  3. Thank you for making this issue known - it is because of you that we were able to take steps to protect our son by throwing this product away and getting him medical attention. I'm very grateful to you.

  4. Do you know if new cups made by this company still have the same lead problem?

    1. I am wondering the same thing, as the measurements are no longer on the glass, and we have been using them, with no sign of the logo coming off (we hand wash them all of the time). There is no paint in or on the outside of the glass, just the plastic outside.

    2. I have seen cups with the painted measurement markings for sale in stores. I think if you have had your painted glass liner replaced with an unpainted one, you are not at risk for lead exposure. I have not seen any evidence that they actually followed through with replacing painted liners with unpainted ones, though.


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