Besides coffee, tea is definitely among the most popular beverages in the world. In the USA alone, people drink 80 billion cups of tea every year, with Canadians drinking up to 10 billion cups. Tea is well-known for its numerous health benefits, but not every type of tea is good for your health.
Recently, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation decided to investigate if the most popular tea brands are indeed healthy as advertised. What they found was shocking – besides not offering any health benefits, popular tea brands also contained high amounts of pesticides and other chemicals far above the recommended limits set by health organizations. The CBS then hired an independent lab to test brands such as Lipton or Tetley for pesticides. The test method followed recommendations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the results showed that 50% of the teas tested were positive for pesticides. Furthermore, some of the pesticides have been banned in many countries around the world and have been linked to a variety of ailments!
Here are the 3 teas that were at the top of the list:
Green tea (Tetley)
This tea was found to contain chlorfenapyr and acetamiprid, compounds which can be fatal even in tiny amounts! Chlorfenapyr is the more dangerous chemical compound – it can damage the central nervous system slowly and is fatal in most cases. The Tetley green tea contained 18 pesticides, which is more than the allowed limit.
Earl Grey (Twinings)
The Earl Grey tea is considered very high-quality, but the tests showed that it is full of pesticides which can seriously harm your health. The tea contained high amounts of acetamiprid, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as convulsions and hypothermia which can be fatal!
Green tea (Uncle Lee’s legends of China)
This was the most toxic tea on the test. The green tea contained 22 pesticides, of which the most dangerous is Bifenthrin which has been associated with various types of cancer.
Only one of the teas tested (Red Rose) was found to have no traces of pesticides, and has rightfully received certification of quality. This shows that companies can make their products ecofriendly without compromising their profits.
Although the results were shocking, Health Canada isn’t concerned. In a public statement, they said that these pesticides aren’t a health concern as they are present in small quantities. “A person would have to drink more than 70 cups of these teas every day for the dose to be lethal, so there’s no reason to worry,” a spokesperson said.
However, scientists are indeed concerned. David Boyd, an environmental lawyer considers the amount of pesticides in these tea brands worrying and is calling for change. “Pesticides are biologically and chemically active in PPM or PPB, and can have serious effects on our health and the environment as well,” he wrote to the CBC.
Choosing a clean tea
The safest way of keeping yourself pesticide-free is to make your own herbal teas, or at least choose the “Organic” certified products. Flavored teas often contain additives that can harm your health as well, so it’s best to stay away from them. Furthermore, even the tea bags are a concern as they are often made of plastic that can disrupt your hormones and poison your body.