Toxic Tea Bag Alert & 5 Health Tips

Toxic Tea Bag Alert & 5 Health Tips

Just when you thought you had a handle on what to avoid, now the unassuming tea bag may put your health at risk. Don’t worry though, there are easy fixes to help you avoid another hidden pollutant slowly infiltrating your food.

The Viscous Cycle

As much as most people try, minimizing and recycling plastic is hardly making a dent in the massive health compromise this material can pose. Until science and society embrace a global solution, your plastic use may be putting you on a path of disease. 

It turns out that many studies of plastic permeating the body, particularly the cells, show potential danger that may affect you. According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), it is estimated that each week you are probably ingesting about five grams of plastic from your food and beverage consumption. To put that into perspective, five grams equals enough plastic to make a credit card. 

The plastic we are eating is coming from, well, us. Your disposed water bottle, plastic bag, juice container, sunglasses, child’s toy, and just about anything else you use that is made of plastic is coming back to haunt us. It is a viscous cycle that a material once revered as one of the greatest human inventions could break down over time and return to wreak havoc on the planet and its people. Many tea bags are made from plastic and after one professor of chemical engineering came across a startling discovery, more people are re-thinking their tea consumption as well as other toxic infiltrators.

Billions and Billions

The Washington Post recently reported on the story of Nathalie Tufenkji who ordered a cup of tea in a Montreal Cafe. As she sat, enjoying her warm brew, she noticed her tea bag was made from a thin plastic filled with ground up tea leaves. She knew how dangerous it was to human health to microwave certain plastics which might leach into food we consume. She wondered if a plastic tea bag in hot water might be just as risky. 

This professor of chemical engineering at McGill University followed her researcher instincts and conducted an informal experiment. After obtaining four different manufactured tea bags from area stores, Tufenkji and her fellow researchers submerged each tea bag in 203 degree Fahrenheit water for five minutes. After inspecting droplets of the tea under an electronic microscope it was estimated that each bag released 11 billion microplastics and 3 billion nano-plastic particles. 

Microplastics are showing up in all sorts of human organs and nano-plastics are capable of infiltrating cells. Studies are underway to determine any link between these plastics and human disease. Some of this research reports potential links to a various health compromises such as:

  • Obesity
  • Organ degeneration
  • Reproductive risk
  • Blood-brain barrier compromise
  • Developmental cognitive delays in children

Although Tufenkji’s study did not research human health, she did report to the Post preliminary observations stating that, “when some of the particles were given to water fleas, they began acting erratically and developed some deformities.”

The Washington Post also reported,

“Researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia compiled dozens of studies on the presence of plastic in water, as well as in food such as shellfish and even beer.”

Tufenkji commented,

“We just wanted to make the public aware of this, We want consumers to know that this [some tea bags] is made of plastic so they can have the choice about whether this is really what they want to purchase.”

Plastic-Free, or Kind Of

It may be hard to avoid plastic altogether but there are some things you should keep doing, or consider trying, which can reduce plastic showing up in your water (namely oceans), soil and eventually your food.

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Reusable bag
  • No plastic straws
  • Buy bulk, store in glass
  • Cloth diapers

It may seem minimal but you can influence others and be part of a global effort. Science, activism, and adaptation are the only chance against our self-polluted poisoning.

Quick Tips to Avoid Microplastics

Drink Tap – Yup, water from a tap faucet contains half the microplastics as bottled water.

Don’t Heat Plastic – It’s pretty simple, use microwave safe glass to heat food, not plastic.

Eat Fresh – Food pulled out of the ground is way less infiltrated as food that is chemically altered, processed, and packaged.

Vacuum – Accumulated dust contains micro and nano-plastics that can be inhaled and over time accumulate in your body.

Non-Plastic – Research how your food is delivered and avoid as many risky choices as possible. When it comes to tea bags, use paper, cotton, hemp, or other non-plastic sources.

Stay in front of toxic tea bags and use these 4 tips to stay healthy. Hopefully researchers, political influences, and the mainstream public will get on board with activism and solutions to stop plastic infiltration from tea bags and so much more.