A McGill University professor says tea-lovers may be swallowing billions of tiny plastic particles along with their favourite brew.
Nathalie Tufenkji (too FEN-jee) published a study today in the U-S journal Environmental Science & Technology that examined the amount of microplastics and nanoplastics released by four unnamed brands of tea bags steeped in hot water.
Researchers at the Montreal university focused the study on premium brands that come in voluminous, silk-like bags, instead of the more common paper variety.
Researchers submerged the bags in water heated to 95 degrees Celcius for five minutes. They found that a single plastic tea bag released approximately 11-point-6 billion microplastics and 3-point-1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup.
Tufenkji says that’s far higher than what other studies have found in other foods, for instance table salt, a kitchen staple that’s been reported as containing plastic. While 16 micrograms of microplastic was recorded in one cup of tea, the highest level reported in table salt has been 0.005 micrograms per gram.
Tufenkji says the health risk of ingesting microplastics and nanoplastics is unknown and that the study only measured how much plastic was released by plastic tea bags.
You can read the article here