Children’s drink cups: Brands recalled twice in two weeks for excessive lead

Lead found in soldered metal and images painted on products.

Courtesy of CPSC | Public Domain
Various brands of children's cups and bottles have been recalled because of lead levels.

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For the second time in two weeks, a brand of children’s drinking cups has been recalled because of lead levels that exceed allowable limits.

PandaEar stainless steel toddler cups were recalled because the outer part of the bottom of the cup contains a solder with lead levels that exceed the limits allowed under federal law, according to the announcement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Lead is toxic if consumed by children; it can cause problems including brain damage, neurological issues, and learning and behavior issues. 

Besides the lead levels, the lid of the cups can crack. The small pieces can pose a choking and laceration hazard.

The 8-ounce cups were sold in sets of two, in either pink and gray or blue and gray, with matching silicone straws. About 1,600 of the sets were recalled Nov. 22. They were sold through Amazon from May through August 2023 for about $12. They were manufactured in China.

The recall comes a week after a four-pack of 8-ounce stainless steel cups were recalled for the same reason. The Nov. 16 recall involved about 200 sets of cups branded as LAOION. The cup sets were sold on Amazon from March 2023 through May 2023 for about $24. They also were manufactured in China.

Other recent recalls of children’s cups because of lead: 

  • In July, about 346,000 sets of Cupkin stainless steel cups were recalled, also for excessive lead. Those two-packs of cups were sold in 8- and 12-ounce sizes through Amazon and Cupkin from January 2018 through March 2023 for about $20. 
  • In November 2022, about 10,500 sets of Green Sprouts stainless steel sippy cups, and bottles and cups with straws were recalled. The bottom could break off, exposing a solder containing an excessive level of lead. The 6- and 8-ounce items were sold by Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Buy Buy Baby and Whole Foods from January 2020 through September 2022 for $14 to $19. 
  • In July 2022, about 100 First Choice glass baby bottles by NUK were recalled. Markings on the bottled contained levels of lead that exceeded permitted limits. The bottles were sold on Amazon from  January 2018 to May 2022; they cost about $20. 
  • In 2020, nearly 10,000 Ron Jon Surf Shop sippy cups were recalled. The plastic characters on the cups contained excessive lead levels and excessive levels of a regulated phthalate. Both lead and banned phthalates are toxic if ingested by children and can cause health problems including brain development. The outside of the cup was painted with images of boats, crabs, fish, sea grass and turtles that contain the toxics. The cups were sold at various Ron Jon Surf Shops from May 2014 through March 2020 for about $7. 
  • At least three other brands of cups and water bottles have been recalled in recent years because of excessive levels of lead. They include Reduce Hydro Pro water bottles sold through Amazon and Costco, GSI Outdoors water bottles sold at L.L. Bean and Avengers- and Darth Vader-Themed water bottles sold at Pottery Barn stores.

In all cases, consumers can contact the company to get a refund. All were manufactured in China except the NUK bottles, which were manufactured in Germany.

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Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers’ health, safety and financial security. Previously, she worked as a journalist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. She received dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, a National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis, and a journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected 15 million customers nationwide. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.

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