Lawsuits Are Piling Up Against Stanley Cup Maker Over Lead Concerns

The company behind the wildly popular Stanley tumbler cups have been hit with a number of lawsuits in recent weeks accusing the company of failing to disclose that its highly sought-after products contain lead.

Plaintiffs have filed at least three lawsuits against the company, including one at the beginning of February and two last week, after it informed consumers last month that its popular Stanley Quencher cups are made with a sealing material that contains some lead. Pacific Market International (PMI), which acquired Stanley in 2002, made the disclosure after social media users inspected their tumblers with at-home lead-testing kits and began sounding the alarm.

The company reassured its millions of customers that the sealing material was covered with a layer of stainless steel, making the lead inaccessible to consumers. Experts also weighed in to allay their concerns, with one telling HuffPost that the risk is “infinitesimally small.”

Stanley tumblers are displayed on a shelf at a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Daly City, California.
Stanley tumblers are displayed on a shelf at a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Daly City, California.

Stanley tumblers are displayed on a shelf at a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Daly City, California.

But the lawsuits have still rolled in from customers outraged over the presence of lead, which can lead to anemia, high blood pressure, cognitive deficits and other health concerns when ingested, even in small amounts. It can also impact female reproductive health ― something plaintiffs emphasized in their lawsuits.

“PMI’s primary target market is young professional women of childbearing age, such as the four named plaintiffs bringing this Complaint,” a lawsuit brought by women from California read. “PMI spends enormous sums to reach this market by paying influencers to advertise Stanley cups as safe, durable products.”

The lawsuits also allege that with damage or regular use, the tumbler’s vacuum seal could possibly break and expose consumers to lead. Had they known there was any lead in the product, they would not have purchased it, they asserted.

PMI’s reassurance is “likely to mislead reasonable consumers, as it does not warn consumers about the potential for damage to the vacuum seal and does not disclose how much lead is present in each tumbler cup,” a lawsuit brought by a Nevada woman claimed.

A third lawsuit from a woman in California notes that PMI “advertises and sells the Stanley cups to consumers with the assurance that they can be used during activity (i.e. hiking and climbing) where a consumer could drop and/or damage the Stanley cups.”

PMI did not immediately return requests for comment on the lawsuits.

The tumblers, typically referred to as just Stanley cups, have become a status symbol in recent months following rave reviews on social media. People have camped outside Target to obtain limited edition versions of the cup, which appeared on resale sits marked up from $45 to $300. A woman was arrested last month for allegedly stealing $2,500 worth of the product. And a viral story last year claimed a Stanley cup, still full of ice, was the only item to survive a car fire.