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There's a Terrible Cost to Stanley Cups' Use of Lead

Ever since the news broke that those extremely trendy Stanley Cups contain lead, people on social media have been in a panic.

Many have even tested their flagons for the heavy metal, with mixed results. One recent viral TikTok shows a user testing a bright orange Stanley Cup, inside and out, and ultimately detecting no lead.

That video demonstrates that the damage control statements from the company may be largely correct: the only way you would be exposed to lead in these tumblers is if they become significantly damaged.

But even though the lead used in the manufacturing process is sealed away from drinkers, Vox reports in a fascinating story, the process used to manufacture these cups poses a very real danger to factory workers and the surrounding environment.

"We’re ignoring the realities at both the production facility of workers’ exposure and the worker and the community exposure surrounding the facilities that recycle these,” Unleaded Kids national director and chemical engineer Tom Neltner told Vox.

Unleaded Kids is a non-profit group dedicated to eradicating lead exposure to children, who are particularly vulnerable to the heavy metal because it can cause serious health risks during critical stages of development.

Lead from the manufacturing process of these cups may get into the air and mix with soil, potentially endangering young children. Kids in Brazil and China would be the ones impacted, because that's where the tumblers are made.

Neltner told Vox there are safer alternatives to lead, such as tin, but that they're more expensive and would undercut the bonanza of profits Stanley Cups has reaped from its recent popularity.

Despite this whole Stanley Cup lead debacle, there are a few bright spots to consider: perhaps it will snap people out of the insanity of trying to keep up with trends or buying multiple iterations of the same reusable water bottle — which seems to defeat their eco-friendly premise.

More on Stanley Cups: Stanley Cups Only Expose Drinkers to Lead if Damaged, Company Says