It took a father trying to figure out why his son was always sick and two moms who passed along his findings on Facebook to bring to light a potential health hazard lurking in the lids of Tommee Tippee’s anti-spill sippy cups. When he broke open the anti-leak mouthpiece of his son’s sippy cup, Montreal resident Simon O’Kanada found a heavy build-up of mold, which can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, asthma, or, in some cases, skin irritation.
O’Kanada’s friend Marie-Pier S. L’Hostie, also of Montreal, shared O’Kanada’s story on her Facebook page along with pictures of the offensive lid. She was soon joined by Penny Powell, who also used social media to get the word out about the potential danger of the product.
“Those of you with these cups pay special attention, he [O’Kanada] has washed it with his hands and in the dishwasher, etc. And the mildew has stayed anyway. Share it,” urged Powell in her Facebook post, which was translated from French.
The Facebook posts quickly went viral. One sippy cup user from Iowa commented on Tommee Tippee’s North America Facebook page: “I’m extremely horrified by what I found in my baby’s valve of her sippy cup today! I had to pry the valve open for 10 minutes, and I felt sick when I saw all of the black mold inside. Your company needs to recall these and do something about it!!”
In its initial response, the manufacturer claimed that when washed properly the cups should not grow mold. The company also noted that the sippy cups should only be used with certain liquids, and that when used with thick formula milk, juices with pulp and warm liquids, problems could arise.
But as the mother in Iowa discovered, opening the valves was not an easy task. And as Powell wrote in her post, “It doesn’t wash and can’t be seen unless broken open.”
In a Feb. 25 post on its official Facebook page, the manufacturer revealed that it planned to alter the design of the cups.
“We sell millions of Sippee cups globally, but we know from recent social media posts that some people have had problems cleaning the valve. For this we sincerely apologize, and we are actively following up on any concerns raised,” read the post.
The new cup will be launched in the next few months and will have a two-piece valve that can be used with different types of liquid and will be easier to clean. In the meantime, the manufacturer is making transparent valves that will allow parents to tell if the piece is clean immediately available.
The company’s Facebook page also states that if you would like a see-through valve or an alternative cup, you should contact its toll-free Careline at 1-877-248-6922.