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Are Tea Bags Toxic? Important.

So, are tea bags toxic? ​​Some tea bags are hazardous and toxic if they contain epichlorohydrin, a material used to prevent the bags from tearing. Epichlorohydrin can be a possible carcinogenic compound and reproductive toxin when exposed to heat.

Tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can consume — and almost everyone knows this.  But did you know that tea bags can also be toxic?

Not all tea companies produce teas in the same manner. Many supposedly “healthy” teas have been discovered to include pesticides, flavor enhancers, and other manufacturing chemicals in the teabags. In some cases, tea bags comprise up to 25 % plastic! Surprising, isn’t it? 

According to Canadian research, brewing one plastic tea bag emits around 11.6 billion “microplastics” into each cup.

The particular effects of these substances on our bodies aren’t fully understood. However, drinking plastic does not seem like a wise or healthy decision.

Since so many people drink tea regularly, these are essential concerns. Let’s look at how and when tea bags are toxic and what you can do about them! 

are tea bags toxic

Toxins in Tea: Where Do They Come From?

There have been several instances when conventional teas failed in pesticide tests. Pesticides were found in two widely known tea brands evaluated by an independent laboratory in 2013.

In 2014, the CBC did its testing and determined that four prominent brands had pesticide levels exceeding Canada’s acceptable standard.

Finally, Greenpeace analyzed 17 samples of Chinese tea in 2012 and discovered 3 to 17 different pesticides throughout all models.

Keep in mind that these published results date back several years. Hopefully, the companies involved made changes and improvements to their formulas. However, unless companies label them as “certified organic,” there is no way to know for sure.

Toxins may leech into your morning cuppa in a variety of ways. 

a cup of tea with tea bag

Epichlorohydrin

This is a chemical most manufacturers use to prevent paper tea bags from breaking. While it keeps paper tea bags intact, it may pose a health risk to humans.  Epichlorohydrin is a possible carcinogen and reproductive hazard after heat exposure. Animal studies have shown evidence that it causes cancer of the nasal cavity and skin. It may also cause lung cancer in humans. 

PET and Other Toxic Plastics 

Most tea bags are composed of the following materials: 

  • Thermoplastic
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

The plastic industry states that PET is a safe-to-consume plastic with a high melting point. However, PET’s “glass transition” temperature (the point at which the material begins to degrade) is below 170 degrees. The boiling point of water starts at 212 degrees. It’s no surprise that plastic creeps its way into your cuppa. 

Polylactic Acid

Another substance that some tea manufacturers use is polylactic acid. Polylactic acid is a material that has not been studied for its safety.

Pesticides 

The tea itself may be toxic as well. There have been concerns about hazardous pesticide concentrations in imported tea. Additionally, reports detected harmful soil contaminants. These include lead, aluminum, and arsenic in both conventional and organic teas. The lead levels in the water are below what is considered safe for human consumption.

Petroleum

Thankfully, a lot of brands don’t use artificial flavoring. But, there are still some that do. Some tea manufacturers use artificial flavoring to enhance and maintain tea taste and cut costs. The addition of artificial flavorings doesn’t automatically imply toxicity. However, you should still avoid artificial flavorings because they contain petroleum. 

Chlorine 

Some tea bags contain small amounts of chlorine. This helps tea manufacturers achieve that whiter tea bag appearance. 

triangular tea bag

Threats Of Tea Bags To The Environment 

The toxins we stated above are not only harmful to your health. The environment also takes a toll on these damaging compounds. Each tea bag may seem insignificant. But, when you consider how people consume tons of teabags every day, the problem becomes evident.

Most teabag material will ultimately degrade and become soil. But, the remaining 20% to 30% is manufactured out of plastic.

Because plastic items do not completely decompose when thrown away, they harm the environment. Because of this, enormous quantities of rubbish end up in landfills.

These might seem quite overwhelming. But, don’t worry too much. If you want to drink toxin-free tea, mindfulness is essential. Moreover, a lot of tea brands are aware of these toxins. So, finding a toxin-free tea brand isn’t hard at all. We’ll also run through some brands in a while. So, read on until the end to find out.

How To Avoid Toxins In Tea Bags

First and foremost: Avoid using tea bags made of plastic. Those can permeate possibly dangerous compounds into your beverage, as we stated. However, the sealer on paper tea bags might also contain plastic. How do you go about this?

Consider using tea bags manufactured from plant-based or organic materials. Look for “fully biodegradable” or “100% toxin-free” tea bags. 

Alternatives To Tea Bags

One of the best things about tea is its versatility. There are so many ways you can consume it! 

Do you want to minimize or eliminate tea bags? These tea bag alternatives can help you make the transition. 

Basket Infusers 

With an in-cup infuser, you can brew a cup of tea for yourself. Additionally, you can create two cups of different teas simultaneously. Look for infusers made of stainless steel since it helps with easier cleanups and rinsing. 

A teapot is an excellent choice for brewing tea, whether at home or the workplace. Conventional, contemporary, vintage, enamel, and novelty styles are all available. 

Teapot

A teapot is your best bet if you brew tea for your family. One good tip for making a good batch of tea is to pre-heat the teapot before brewing. This way, you get the best concentration possible. 

Integral Infuser 

Modern teapots with built-in infusers are a terrific substitute for tea bags. This method is perfect when you’re short on time since they drain faster. 

Reusable Tea Bags 

There are some tea bags made out of cloth or silicone. In fact, you can even make your own reusable tea bag. All you need is a muslin cloth or cheesecloth. To make the bag, place a spoonful of loose leaf tea in the center and secure it with a piece of thread. From there, brew away! 

Tea Crystals

This method is innovative and unique. You might want to give it a try! With Pique Tea crystals, you don’t even have to boil a cup of tea. 

Make a cup of wonderful, polyphenol-rich tea by simply mixing the powders with hot or cold water. 

Their teas have six times the antioxidant content of teabags and twenty times the antioxidant capacity of bottles of tea. To top it all off, there aren’t any artificial flavors or sweeteners in these packets.

It’s also free of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold, so you may drink it every day without worry. 

a cup of chamomile tea and tea bags

Tea Companies That Offer Toxin-Free Tea Bags

If you’re a fan of bagged tea, don’t fret! As we stated above, there are plenty of companies that don’t utilize plastics and toxins. Here’s a quick list of organic and toxin-free tea bag brands.

Numi Organic Tea 

Since the beginning, this tea company has been worried about the possible health concerns of chemicals being brewed in hot water. Because of this, they utilize biodegradable and unbleached Manila hemp. Numi Organic Tea’s tea bags are also non-GMO verified.

Republic of Tea 

For the last 27 years, The Republic of Tea has been creating fantastic quality tea bags. The company uses unique unbleached circular paper bags. Their bags also don’t come with any superfluous ties, labels, or staples. 

Pukka Herb Tea 

This tea brand employs a basic organic cotton thread and an innovative folding technique. Pukka Herb Tea does not utilize polypropylene to keep teabags together. Moreover, their tea bags are plastic-free. In fact, Pukka Herb Tea was the first-ever tea company that employed organic threads.

I must admit, Pukka is an old fave of mine, I loved their teas, also a little box of Pukka teas makes a great gift too!

Are Tea Bags Toxic? Our Final Thoughts 

So, are tea bags toxic? To answer this question simply: they can be! Tea may contain hazardous components, from plastics to chlorine. But, don’t let this bring you down. You can always be mindful of your tea bag purchases.

There are many ways to enjoy your favorite tea while doing your part to cut environmental impact. Meanwhile, you may get the advantages of tea without worrying about detrimental consequences.

a hot cup of chai tea

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are tea bags safe?

Yes, tea bags are safe. According to the Tea Association of the United States of America, Drinking tea from tea bags is entirely safe. But, if you are mindful of the components you consume, it’s best that you opt for organic tea bags. 

Are tea bags poisonous? 

Samples of several teas have been deemed unfit to drink. Toxic levels in “naturally” produced goods are not routinely tested or reported.

Why shouldn’t you squeeze tea bags? 

Squeezing tea bags makes the tea bitter. The tannic acid content of the tea bag’s remaining liquid is much larger than the amount that you can extract from the bag on its own. You accidentally release tannic compounds into your tea by pressing the tea bag. Squeezing results in a tea that is significantly more bitter, sour, and acidic.

Does longer steeping time produce healthier tea? 

The longer you steep your tea, the healthier it will be for you. Whether by mistake or intention, over-steeping your tea is good for you since the percentage of tannins in your cup doubles the longer it’s steeped.

Happy Sipping!

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