Are tea bags safe to consume? (What exactly are microplastic particles?)

In this post, we will address the issue “Are tea bags safe to consume?” as well as microplastic particles.

Are tea bags safe to consume?

Yes, tea bags are safe to use, however it is best not to use plastic tea bags on a daily basis. To be safe, avoid using dangerous tea bags made of silk or mesh. Paper tea bags, on the other hand, provide a unique set of risks. Many paper bags are sprayed with epichlorohydrin, a pesticide that is also used to manufacture epoxy resins! To be even safer, replace your packaged tea with loose tea. Because, at first glance, tea bags seem to be a waste of paper.

The vast majority of them are non-biodegradable as well. As previously mentioned, the chemicals used in the tea industry have an impact on the environment. The bagged tea business is also a major source of pollution. Tea packing in tea bags, tea bags individually wrapped, paper, carton, and plastic blister packaging wastes energy and resources while also concentrating profit in wealthy countries.

When you purchase loose-leaf tea, you are not only minimizing waste and resource usage, but you are also boosting the chance that more of your money will reach the producers. Pesticides are used by many tea companies.

According to Greenpeace study released in 2015, 34 pesticides were found in Indian tea. All of the pesticides will wind up in your cup of tea if the tea hasn’t been washed. Some producers load their tea bags with artificial substances, which enhances the flavor but lowers the health advantages. Tea bags, on the other hand, are quite easy to use. By reviewing the ingredient list, you may ensure that you are doing yourself a favor.

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Particles of microplastic

According to a recent research from McGill University in Montreal, when some premium tea bags are steeped in hot water, they release billions of microscopic plastic particles. The peer-reviewed study discovered that when plastic tea bags were steeped in nearly boiling water, they released more than 10 billion microplastic and nanoplastic particles into the water, a level “thousands of times higher than those previously reported in other foods,” according to a McGill University press release issued on Wednesday.

According to an industry expert, however, these kinds of tea bags account for just a small proportion of those used by tea drinkers. Plastic tea bags, according to Peter F. Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the United States of America Inc., are often used for high-end speciality teas and account for about 5% of the tea bag market. According to Goggi, a significant portion of today’s plastic tea bags are made of a biodegradable material that was not investigated in the research.

There are three problems to be mindful of when it comes to tea bags:

Paper tea bags sealed with a plastic adhesive that makes them non-recyclable or biodegradable

When put in hot water, plastic tea bags (the actual bag is composed of plastic, not paper) begin to degrade.

Plastic seeping from tea bags into the cup, and therefore into the drinker

Tea drinkers have been urged to avoid using plastic tea bags after research showed that a single bag sheds billions of microplastic particles into each cup.

According to a Canadian research, steeping a plastic tea bag at 95°C releases about 11.6 billion microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles ranging in size from 100 nanometers to 5 millimeters, into a single cup. Tufenkji and his colleagues bought four different tea bags from Montreal shops and cafés, disassembled and cleaned them, steeped them in 95°C water, and then examined the water using electron microscopy and spectroscopy.

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Researchers utilized uncut tea bags as a control to ensure that it wasn’t the cutting that was causing the microplastics to leak. Despite the fact that microplastics are becoming increasingly prevalent in drinking water, the World Health Organization says that there is no proof that they are harmful to people’ health. Tufenkji and her colleagues tested contaminated water using water fleas to determine whether the particles generated by plastic tea bags were hazardous. “While the particles did not kill the water fleas, they did have significant behavioral and developmental effects,” she says.

She does, however, think that further research is required to properly understand the possible health effects in people. Tufenkji, meantime, urges New Scientist readers to avoid using plastic tea bags. “Tea may be purchased in paper tea bags or loose-leaf tea, eliminating the need for single-use plastic packaging.” In the long run, organic loose tea is definitely the best choice. If you love tea as much as I do and drink it often, it is the most cost-effective and toxin-free option.


We addressed the issue “Are tea bags safe to consume?” as well as microplastic particles in this post.


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