Are Stanley Mugs Safe?
So it's official, Stanley bottles contain lead. But what does that really mean?
Here's the cliff-notes summary:
But if the base of your bottle becomes damaged, then you may want to consider switching it out for a new one.
Three of the most popular alternative brands that already use a lead-free plug are (click for links to their statements about lead):
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If that's all the info you were looking for, then I hope this helped, thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you later!
But if you'd like to learn a little more about the backstory and ramificiations, then stay tuned because I'll dive into a little more detail and give my thoughts on what's coming next.
We also cover this in a YouTube video if you'd prefer to watch the recap!
What Happened to Stanley?
This all started when recent viral videos on Tiktok showed lead tests coming back positive in their Stanley bottles. Eventually, the company had to respond and issued a statement saying essentially that
Stanley's Statement about Lead
Stanley's full statement (as of 2/7/2024) is currently shown at this link and is copied below for easy reference:
"At Stanley, one of the key features of our products is our vacuum insulation technology, which provides consumers with drinkware that keeps beverages at the ideal temperature. 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. 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. In the rare occurrence the base cap of a product comes off due to ordinary use and exposes this seal, it is eligible for our Lifetime Warranty, available here: https://www.stanley1913.com/pages/contact-warranty
Stanley assures that its products meet all US regulatory requirements including Prop65. Stanley tests for and validates compliance on all products through FDA accredited 3rd party labs that verify our products follow strict guidelines including but not limited to BPA/BPS, PFOS, and phthalate regulatory requirements."
Where is the lead in Stanley bottles?
As mentioned, the specific use is in a lead-based solder that seals off the vacuum insulation. It's located at the base of the bottle in the middle.
Lead Free Mama has an amazingly detailed breakdown and investigation into all kinds of different bottles, and these are some of her images showing what they look like in other bottles with similar construction.
If you're looking for more information about lead free bottles and containers, or just more information about lead safety in general, I'd highly recommend visiting Lead Safe Mama's website. She's been covering this information for years and has a pretty comprehensive review of most major bottle brands.
Lead Safe Mama Links:
Stanley's "Nalgene" Moment - Lead & BPAs
To summarize, lead doesn't contact the inside of the bottle, and it's covered up on the outside so you can't come in contact with it. So for most people and most situations, this is not a safety concern. And Stanley's statement also correctly noted that this is an industry standard because most dual wall vacuum insulated bottles you find on the market today use this same type of lead-based seal.
But the problem for Stanley is that most people won't listen to the finer details or justifications. Instead, they just see the headlines saying "Stanley bottles contain lead." This gets shared and creates shockwaves online.
But the damage had already been done, and fallout from the BPA revolution paved the way for alternative brands like Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask to take significant market share away from Nalgene.
What will Stanley do about Lead?
Now Stanley is in a similar situation with lead, and they will almost certainly update their manufacturing process to remove lead from the equation.
The good news for Stanley is that this is already being done. As mentioned, companies like Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen, and Owala already use a lead-free method to seal in the vacuum, so it shouldn't be difficult for Stanley to adopt similar procedures.
The problem for Stanley is whether they can do this quickly, transparently, and fairly enough for their loyal customers in a way that won't leave them feeling alientated. If they can pull this off, then they could maintain their position as social media's favorite bottle brand. If not, you can bet that other brands will fill the public's new requirement to know their bottles are 100% lead-free.
Will Stanley Let you Exchange Bottles for Lead-Free Ones?
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Stanley offers some kind of bottle swap promotion where customers can trade in their older bottles for a new lead-free version. Yes, this would be extremely costly, but this kind of move would show their loyal followers that the company stands by them and their products.
Time will tell if they do something like this, but you can almost guarantee that most major brands will switch to lead-free plugs as soon as possible and update their packaging to make sure people know about it.
In the end, this is a welcome change. The further we can keep lead from our food and beverages, the better, and this market shift will make many people feel a lot more comfortable with their water bottles that they use every day.
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Try searching for things like "infusers" or "Hydro Flask".
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