Plastic Tea Bags Shed Billions of Microplastic Particles into Your Cup!
Quick Look At The Teabags Industry
Given their numerous advantages regarding cost, weight, flexibility, durability, practical use, and availability, plastic materials found extensive use in virtually every aspect of daily life, to the extent where the past hundred years came to be known as the “Plastic Age.”
Teabags are a popular option worldwide, given the ease of use they offer.
Teabags were first developed around 1908 in America. Thomas Sullivan designed sachets made of gauze, the first tea bags. During the 1920s, these were developed for commercial production, and the bags grew in popularity in the USA.
The improvement of socioeconomic status has witnessed an increase in demand for tea bags with different attributes, including consumer preferences, blended nutraceutical ingredients in small sachets, ease of handling, and profit to both consumers and producers.
The global Tea Bag market was valued at 14,360 million US$ in 2020 and is expected to reach 17,590 million US$ by the end of 2026.
The Danger of Plastic Teabags
Tea drinkers are urged to avoid plastic tea bags after tests found that a single bag sheds billions of microplastic particles into each cup.
A nylon or PET-based tea bag releases 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nano plastics into the tea to be consumed. (1)
A team os scientists at The Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University, found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95°C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic between 100 nanometres and 5 millimeters in size – into a single cup. That is several orders of magnitude higher than other foods and drinks. (2)
Most tea bags are made from paper, with a small amount of plastic used to seal them shut. But some brands have switched to using greater amounts of plastic mesh for their product instead.
It’s usually so that the teabag is held in a pyramid shape, which producers claim helps the tea leaves infuse better.
The Canadien researchers removed the tea and placed the empty teabags in water heated to 95C (203F) as if they were brewing tea.
They found that a single plastic teabag released about 11.6bn microplastic and 3.1bn smaller nano plastic particles into the hot water. The particles are entirely invisible to the naked eye.
Harmful Effects of Paper, Plastic, and Nylon Teabags
As mentioned elaier, manufacturers add a plastic polymer, namely polypropylene, for the teabags to seal up and keep their shape in hot liquid. Unfortunately, like most plastics, polypropylene affects the body’s endocrine system adversely, and endocrine disruptors can lead to many health issues and other disorders that can become chronic conditions. (3)
Also, drinking tea from these teabags can cause behavioral defects, development defects, and reproductive health issues.
Drinking a cup of tea might seem relatively harmless; after all, the amounts of plastic found in tea bags are minimal, but it does add up quite a bit when you look at the big picture.
How To Avoid Plastic Teabags?
The good news is that there are better options out there if you know how to spot them. Opt for tea bags that are entirely biodegradable, plastic-free, organic, or made with plant-based materials.
Buy tea brands that are transparent about what their teabags are made of since it’s difficult for you to judge the material yourself.
For example, Brain Tea teabags are non-GMO, eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable PLA from natural fibers, free from allergy, bleach, heavy metals, chemicals, and toxins.
The tea bags that BrainTea uses is made with the highest standards in mind to complement the incredible benefits of its brain-boosting herbal blend. Check it out for yourself.
(1)Are nonwoven fabrics used in foods made of cellulose or plastic? Cellulose/plastic separation by using Schweizer's reagent and analysis based on a sample of teabags - ScienceDirect
(2)Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea | Environmental Science & Technology (acs.org)
(3)An assessment of the toxicity of polypropylene microplastics in human derived cells - ScienceDirect