What's in Your Tea?

With the widespread use of plastic in every field, microplastics and nanoplastics have begun to attract the attention of both experts and people. For this reason, scientists Nathalie Tufenkji and Laura Hernandez from McGill University in Canada conducted a study to find out whether tea bags contain microplastics and nanoplastics.

Examining four different tea bags packaged using plastic bags, the researchers left the teas to infuse in hot water at 95 °C. The result was surprising: 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics were found in just one tea bag!

This amount detected is thousands of times higher than previous studies on different foods. Previous studies; For example, he showed that one gram of table salt contains 0.005 micrograms of plastic. Hernandez, one of the scientists who conducted the research, says that when we drink a glass of tea, 16 micrograms of plastic enters our body.

Researchers; He states that these mini plastics are caused by the tea packets, not the tea. Unlike plastic packages, there is no danger in tea bags packaged in paper bags. Therefore, before buying tea bags, you should pay attention to what material the tea bags are made of.

Senior Scientist Lisa Y. Lefferts of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based research organization, says the long-term effects of plastics on human health have yet to be determined. Because the effects of plastics on our health; They vary in size, shape, surface area, pathogens, or interactions with other chemicals.

In order to reach more precise results, studies on microplastics and nanoplastics in food continue. Often in interdisciplinary studies, scientists work with doctors to understand how these substances affect human health. However, in the light of the researches done so far, we can say that the use of plastic is not beneficial for our world or our health.

More for the curious:


About the Author: 

Selin Akbaş – Be People Editor

Selin Akbaş, who completed her undergraduate education at Boğaziçi University, Department of History, did journalism internships at and Thomson Reuters News Agency during her university years, and worked as a copywriter for various blogs. He has been working in the field of strategic content production and copywriting as one of the editors of Fabrika Creative since December 2019.

    Selin Akbaş

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