Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Toxic Cup of Tea

Health and Beauty
A Toxic Cup of Tea

To me, a cup of tea is like a cup of comfort. I love tea. Come rain or shine, I'm always up for a hot cup of tea. Tea has also been known to have several good health benefits as well. I recently read a very interesting article on the subject of tea, and more specifically, how deceitfully toxic your cup may be without your even knowing it.

For instance, look at that cup of tea. Inviting isn’t it? It just looks so delicious and perfectly harmless. But is it? Looks can be deceiving. Please read on and you’ll see what I mean. 

Plastic and Cancerous Compounds in Tea Bags—A Surprising Source of Potential Toxins (By Dr. Mercola)

“I’ve long advocated drinking tea in lieu of coffee, but the downside of modern food technology is again rearing its ugly head and causing brand new health concerns over this otherwise healthful brew.
A recent article in The Atlantic raises questions about the safety of plastic tea bags, some of which have fancy pyramid shapes, designed to allow the tea leaves to unfurl during infusion.
Chances are you’ve never even given the tea bag a second thought. But indeed, some of the newer tea bags are made with a variety of plastics; some are nylon, some are made of viscose rayon, and others are made of thermoplastic, PVC or polypropylene.
Anyone aware of the dangers of plastic chemicals leaching out of plastic containers and bottles is likely to be concerned about drinking tea steeped through heated plastic.
The other bad news is that paper tea bags may be just as bad, or worse, than the plastic ones because many of them are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins.
Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin is also used as a pesticide. Besides making its way into tea bags, it can also be found in coffee filters, water filters, and sausage casings.

When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It’s also been implicated in infertility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.
This chemical is already a well-known “process contaminant” associated with modern food production.
Do Plastic Tea Bags Pose a Health Concern?
As you probably know, chemicals in plastic containers and bottles have been found to leach into food and drink, thereby posing a number of health hazards.

According to the featured article:
“Could plastic tea bags also be bad for our health? They are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which are two of the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. Both have very high melting points, which offer some assurance to consumers, as one would think the melting point of plastic is the temperature at which one would need to worry about accidentally eating it. There is another temperature point for plastics, though, that we may need to worry about, called the 'glass transition' temperature (Tg). That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point.”
Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). In the case of PET the glass transition point (Tg) is about 169 degrees, and the breakdown point of nylon is even lower than PET.

“If the question is, 'As the polymer goes through that transition state, is it easier for something to leach out?' 'the answer is yes,' said Dr. Ray Fernando, professor and director of polymers and coatings at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,”  The Atlantic states.

So while these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water—which is the recommended way to brew a good cup of tea.
Paper Tea Bags May Be Just as Bad, or Worse….
The now defunct Dexter Corporation was the initial owner on the patent of a method for treating both tea bags and coffee filters with latex (plastic), to aid in preventing tears that allow the tea leaves/coffee grounds to leak. This invention “saturates and completely impregnates” the entire web material. Therein lies one of the problems with paper tea bags as they are frequently treated with epichlorohydrin, which hydrolyzes to the carcinogen 3-MCPD when contact with water occurs.

Dow Chemical Co is one of the largest producers of epichlorohydrin. According to safety literature from Dow, it's a very dangerous chemical that requires using extra precautions when handling. Granted, that doesn’t automatically render it dangerous in the final product, but it can still be a cause for concern, particularly as it can turn into a carcinogen when water is added. There are many unanswered questions with respect to the potential hazards of using this chemical in products specifically designed to be used with boiling water…

A good way to protect yourself and your family in this area is to purchase your tea from manufacturers who can certify that their tea bags do not contain this compound. In a 2009 article, Kristie Leong, MD also claims to have done her own inquiries and that Bigelow Tea Company does not use the chemical in their bags.

Your best option would be to opt for loose tea. This does take longer, but it can be well worth the wait.
Of Your Healthiest Beverage Choices
While some tea bags—whether plastic or paper processed with epichlorohydrin—may pose a potential hazard, please don’t let that deter you from drinking tea altogether. Although I still believe pure water should make up the majority of your daily fluid intake, high-quality tea has numerous health benefits to offer. Among them is growing evidence that the polyphenols in tea, which include EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and many others, can be protective against cancer. Beyond this, the beneficial properties in tea have been known to:
·        Neutralize the effects to your body of harmful fats and oils
·        Inhibit bacteria and viruses
·        Improve digestion
·        Protect against oxidation in your brain and liver
·        Help promote healthy gums

Drinking tea has also been linked to:

·        Improved mental alertness and slowing of brain-cell degeneration
·        Reduced blood pressure
·        Protection again type 2 diabetes
·        Lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
·        Lower risk of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers
·        Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke

Of course, there are some general ground rules to follow when selecting tea of any kind, and those are that it should preferably be:
·        Organic (otherwise tea may be heavily sprayed with pesticides)
·        Grown in a pristine environment (tea is known to accumulate fluoride, heavy metals and other toxins from soil and water, so a clean growing environment is essential to producing a pure, high-quality tea)"


  1. I have read before about this, Lynea. I personally only drink loose leaf tea and have gotten to the point where I quite simply prefer the overall flavor experience when it's not in a bag. I will on occasion have a cup of tea made from a bag and find it paltry in comparison to loose leaf. Investing in a decent quality tea pot with a basket or a diffuser of some kind is well worth it and is really not any more labour intensive than a tea bag once you get into the habit. They even make really nice tea cups and travel mugs with built in baskets and diffusers. I NEVER use a tea ball as I find them to be cumbersome and messy. My teapot is like this one:

    I have had it for nearly ten years and it still works wonderfully. I had to replace the basket awhile back, which only cost $5!
    I highly recommend loose leaf if at all possible.
    The Tea Snob :-)

    1. Loved your comment Jana! You really are a tea snob...but I am thankful for it every time I come to visit you for a delicious cup of tea. :)

  2. Good grief! so very sad that we have to worry about tea bags. I have a tea diffuser and loose leaf tea as well as tea in bags, but sometimes I am too lazy to do the loose leaf. I guess I need to think more about that in the future! Wish we didn't have to worry about such things...

    1. I is amazing how many toxins and nasty chemicals we have to watch out for now. They are everywhere. But, I suppose the more we learn, the better we can be aware of them sneaking into our homes.