I'm sorry in advance for being a Debbie Downer but you may be swallowing billions of tiny plastic particles while sipping a cup of freshly brewed gourmet tea, new research confirms.
Some higher end teas now come in "silken" bags instead of paper to make room for larger premium tea leaves to expand. However, researchers have demonstrated that this may not be the healthiest way to consume premium tea.
Researchers from a Montreal University studied the effect of silken tea bags when steeped in hot water and found that they released microplastic and even smaller nanoplastic particles at significant larger amounts than what researchers expected.
Billions of particles were found in a single cup of tea!! The researchers estimated that one cup from a single tea bag could contain 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles. Results were published late September in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
SLN's Take Home Message
To avoid any potential health risks, stick to paper tea bags and loose leaf tea. We agree with Nathalie Tufenkji, the professor of chemical engineering that initiated this study:
"Personally, I would say avoid the plastic tea bags because it's just another single-use plastic" — something many governments, including Canada's, are trying to reduce due to the impact on oceans and the challenges of recycling it."