How do you like your tea? Hot? Ice cold? Just warm? If you’re a tea lover, then you probably take several cups a day. Maybe you carry a few tea bags to work every day to keep you sipping and energized at all times. Well, forget the milk and sugar! A new study has revealed that you may be swallowing billions of microplastics with your favorite brew.
The study was carried out by researchers from McGill University in Canada. They tested various plastic commercial tea bags by cutting them open, washing them and then steeping them in near boiling water for five minutes. They found that a single bag released more than 11.6 billion microplastics, which is way more than ‘plastic loads previously reported in other foods’, according to the study published in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology. However, there was speculation that the high number of particles was due to the fact that the plastic was in contact with boiling water, which caused it to degrade.
This news is concerning to tea drinkers because the average person eats and inhales at least 50,000 particles of microplastic annually. These are tiny pieces of plastic that are created by the disintegration of plastic litter and can be found almost anywhere. That means that a single cup of their fave tea may exceed that by billions.
Microplastics can’t be seen with the naked eye and you can never be sure if your favourite brand of tea bags has them. Most tea bags are made using natural fibres, but some still contain plastic to seal the bag. In addition, other brands have completely shifted to plastic tea bags. While the effects of microplastics in the human body are not yet conclusive, it helps to be a bit more cautious and maybe skip a cup or two from now on.