Warning: Shocking Toxic Chemicals Found In Teas

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Warning - Shocking Toxic Chemicals Found In Tea BrandsPhoto – © Herbs-Info.com

UPDATE: Many people wanted to see “which brands”: We linked to the Glaucus Research report that tears Teavana a new one, we linked (end of the article) to Food Babe’s article which includes a complete chart of which brands she investigated, and we followed up with a lot of our own additional research into the substances in the teabag material and so on. To sum it up; Numi, Rishi and Traditional Medicinals came out smelling of roses; most of the others, not so – including Lipton, Allegro, Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Teavana, Bigelow, Republic of Tea, Twinings, Yogi, Tea Forte, Mighty Leaf, Trader Joe’s, Tetley. All the links are in the article (which is worth reading).
Well folks, this news was a bit of a downer to be honest, but it’s important stuff and people need to know: We recently discovered an amazing article (link at the end) which gives a very detailed exposé of chemicals and other additives that have been found by lab testing in numerous common brands of tea. We also did some further investigation, which appears below.
Now I’m a tea fanatic so I was understandably upset by finding out that my favorite brew is loaded with surprisingly high quantities of pesticides and other dubious chemicals. The types of suspect ingredients found in common tea brands can be broken down into four main categories:

1. Pesticides

Most teas are not washed before being dried – and therefore non-organic teas almost certainly contain pesticide residues. Some tea brands (even those claimed organic or pesticide free!) have recently been found to contain pesticides that are known carcinogens – in quantities above the US and EU limits! This is completely outrageous. I dug further and found new scientific reports which are pretty scathing – not to mention scary from the consumer’s point of view. Here’s an in-depth report from Glaucus Research that illustrates what appear to be outright criminal practices. It’s essential reading and a real education into what goes on in the modern world.

2) Substances In The Teabag Material

Teabags are often made from plastics (which may leach molecules into the boiling water), corn-based biodegradable bags (probably GMO), or with paper which was treated with wet strength agents such as polymerized epichlorohydrin. Epicholorohydrin (unpolymerized) is also used as an insect fumigant and considered a potential carcinogen – and although levels present in paper products such as tea bags and coffee filters are low, they are still present. [1]
The effects of leaching from teabag material to the tea are of course avoidable if you use loose leaf tea. If you are concerned about this but still want your favorite brand, you could also try this “hack”: Empty the contents of the teabag(s) into a teapot and brew tea the traditional way with a tea strainer! (You get style points also for that – and let us know if you notice a difference in flavor from the deduction of anything that should not have been in your tea!)

3. “Natural Flavors”

Now this vague terminology is a “blanket term” which conceals the truth of these ingredients. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially means flavorings “which have their origin in nature”. In other words, it could be made from any animal or plant source and processed in many ways.
Not only do you have no true idea what the source actually was (you might be allergic to it!), nor how much processing was done to it – but some of the items that are used as natural flavors are completely disgusting in their own right. Like for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/castoreum. Yes, anything that says “natural flavors” on the label could contain castoreum, and you would never know…

4. Artificial Flavors

Now if in the back of your mind you are asking yourself “why does tea need flavoring added at all?” then congratulate yourself because that is a VERY good question. The answer is that the poor plants/herbs used in its manufacture have been mercilessly subjected to the techniques of modern agriculture, to the extent that the end product is sufficiently bland-tasting that flavoring is “required” in order to make it taste the way it should! Tea should be tea! It should not need flavorings, natural or artificial! So please be sure to look at the label and watch out for the word “flavorings” or “flavors”.
Remember, the companies making this stuff are generally just interested in creating marketable products – and decisions are made for reasons of cutting costs and increasing profits. You are just part of the equation and so all the while you continue to swill down whatever, the companies will keep on manufacturing whatever… because it works! However, if sufficient numbers of people demand quality ingredients and transparency at every step of the chain, then the companies will be forced to comply by the laws of supply and demand! So you are in the driving seat! Learn as much as you can about food quality. Ask questions and make conscious, informed choices. Do your research and support independent study. Don’t let them get away with it. Every time you do this, you add to the push for positive change.
We’ve just scratched the surface here, please check out Food Babe’s full report for more detailed information and a chart of which teas came out with their reputations intact – and please share with your tea-loving friends! https://foodbabe.com/2013/08/21/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/

[1] Screening Assessment for the Challenge Oxirane, (chloromethyl)- (Epichlorohydrin). https://ec.gc.ca/ese-ees/default.asp?lang=En&n=BA416AA1-1

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52 thoughts on “Warning: Shocking Toxic Chemicals Found In Teas

  1. i would think that it would be more common on regular store bought teas. maybe its best to buy them fresh or grow them fresh.

  2. Request you to give names of brands of Tea one should utilise. Your article is not only educative but eye opener too.

  3. Please tell me is TAZO tea is involved?
    It would be very much appreciated if you could share this information. I’m doing everything possible to stay healthy and educated.
    I thank you in advance for your time and help.
    Health and happiness……Stephanie

  4. Have you ever been to the Celestial Seasons factory? Their teas are ALL natural with no chemicals! We toured the plant, their teas are wonderful!

  5. celestial seasonings has one of the highest pesticide residue of all herbal teas and has actually been sued for this !

  6. Just buy loose teas from organic stores. If we keep worrying about everything we put in our bodies based on articles that could easily be made up to start a new fad like gluten, then we all might as well die now! Seriously people! Stop being so naive to what you read.

  7. English Tea Co sell organic teas, with none of the chemicals mentioned here. Buy Organic tea and coffee

  8. Being a tea fanatic myself (it’s all I drink 90% of the day), I really need to know the brands to look out for. Right now I have a cupboard with about 10 boxes of different teas…… so I’m really concerned about this!! 🙁

  9. Yes, I heard a couple of times that not all teas are not safe to drink because of those chemicals that were sprayed on them.
    It seems there is no safe place on earth.. Almost everything we use and eat are prone to pesticides and other harmful chemicals which lead to the increase of mortality rate.

  10. I love Numi tea and the Canton Tea Company for there organic tea and am very happy that Numi is on the list of healthy tea. Thank you for the information.

  11. There is also some controversy over what is used to glue the teabags together … the article is correct, that organic loose tea is safer.

  12. Thank you for this information, it will be helpful for many people. All these factors should be expected in products made by corporations. The share holders and consumers drive the food for profit mindset. Corporate lobbying should be illegal.

  13. Go for Ceylon Tea! Certified for its high quality and minimum residue content. Only Ceylon Tea has the certification for 100% Ozone friendly production. Orthodox tea manufacturing which is almost 200 years old is still practiced in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). You cannot expect any better, more natural tea than this.

  14. The same goes here…I drink tea all day long have for years…all kinds I also need to know which teas are not good…
    Thank you, Dottie

  15. Twinings and Lipton I’m disappointed but not surprised. But Trader Joe’s I’m surprised. We pay more money at Trader Joe’s expecting better quality.
    Here I am with my cup of Lipton tea, thinking I do good by drinking that instead of coffee…

  16. Perhaps a stupid question but if tea is this bad, and has been this bad for a while, millions of tea bags from the “bad list” companies are sold each year, people drink them, and don’t get sick. Why aren’t they getting sick from it then if so many toxic chemicals are in the bags?

  17. Greetings — we drink Harney & Sons teas…have they been included in any of your research and study? We took a tour of the factory some years ago, but didn’t know these specific terms and chemicals to ask about.
    Thank you!

  18. So the concern is teas sprayed with pestisides and even the tea bags!!
    I guess I’m ll be growing my own! I have at least 4 of above brands mentioned in my cupboard. Argh!

  19. Without the vulgarity, I sort of have to agree with Pedro. Also, to add insult to injury, there really is no such thing as Organic. The label may say it is. The government inspectors may say it is. A friend used to have an orchard next to an organic farm. They sprayed with what ever they please, but stopped when they got TWO WEEKS notice that the inspector was coming. Rain washed away the evidence or they’d wash it off the best they could…. and pass the inspection. As soon as the inspection passed, they’d spray again. Nothing is safe any more.

  20. Re: point #2 – I have long suspected teabag material. Paper making is one of the most toxic enterprises, so why ingest paper? If it’s not paper, it’s plastic, & I don’t want that either. And have you ever opened a bag to brew the contents? It’s not tea — it’s DUST! As tho swept up from a floor. No recognizable leaves. Tea companies are getting away with murder putting out such inferior products. Best by loose tea from a reputable company and brew with a tea ball.

  21. I know of a wonderful place to get amazing teas that do not have all those crazy chemicals in them! I would love to share if you want

  22. I have e-mailed co. asking about the bags, and the ‘plastic’ from which they are kept in, never heard back from them. My main question at the time was how can you call it ‘organic’ when it is, meaning the tea bag itself is wrapped in plastic of one kind or another? Now I need to look at the teas themself, Thank-you I drink alot of different teas.

  23. There are ‘tea balls’ of stainless steel to place the tea bag contents into ant treat just like a tea bag in you cup or pot.
    Here in Australia in kitchen supply shops I have seen various sized ones from a single cup to one a bit larger than a tennis ball for big tea pots.
    Just a matter of looking around….

  24. Many teas also end up with high quantities of dihydrogen monoxide by the time they are consumed.

  25. Ignorance is bliss….All I drink is Barry’s Irish Breakfast tea. Not on list. Probably not tested…but still…not on list. I am brewing a cup as I type to celebrate.

  26. Everybody should be very careful about trusting this article. The disclaimer in the linked report says that they will make money if the company that they are claiming has toxic chemicals has a drop in stock price. The company they are going after have a contract with Starbucks, and so if Starbucks dropped them the writers of the report stand to make themselves millionaires if they are not already. These are Wall Street people telling you to be scared of a product.

  27. Stephanie, Peggy Songer, others: Please read the entire article before commenting. Thank you. Especially the link it’s based on.

  28. Do you know if Alvita tea is on the pro or con list, with regard to pesticides? Thank you for posting this very important article, it is greatly appreciated.

  29. Just try and stick to organic teas (sometimes they find traces of pesticides in organic teas as well, but your chances of getting pesticide free tea is still much greater). If you are an orange pekoe drinker and you live in Canada, buy Red Rose. Red Rose tea (although not labelled as organic) has consistently tested as pesticide free in a study done by the CFDA and then an independent one done by the CBC to confirm the results of the CFDA study.

  30. I’m a tea fanatic,thank you for this info.appreciate if you can identify those brands.

  31. Outrageous! Mighty Leaf is one of the most expensive. Thank goodness I just bought Traditional Medicinals today. Some of the others surprise me.

  32. I HAVE HAD 3-4 tenures while in army in EAST-tea growing states.They use abnormal amt of insecticides &pesticides -no washing be fore being processed -i asked one of the managers ‘washing reduces the quality of tea’ was the reply.Tea bags are made of porous plastic normally now being used as carry bags for vegs/grocery-cancerous-better use open /or cut the bag &use leaves—–ayurvedics advocate no use of coffee/tea—-change ur psy –is tea necessary?–‘just nothing to do lets have a cup of tea’–there is no demand from ur body –een in high altitude areas -LADAKH-my body never demanded tea

  33. I’ve tried Lipton, Twinings and Tetley and i could tell they weren’t natural… I had been drinking Organic Green tea made by Organic India the last 5 years and i can say that their product is good…

  34. I buy Teavana Strawberry Blush Rose Oolong Tea with their the natural sugar imported from Germany all in the name of health. I am a Diabetic and looking for ways to stay healthy to prolong my life. What I don’t like about this tea is it has pieces of rocks and twigs. I have tried growing my own but my thumb is not green everthing I plant dies. Can you provide additional information about Teavana this is a huge chain claiming health even Oprah has a tea sponsored by Teavana. Please help my life depends on it.

  35. Last summer I grew mint, lemon balm, lemongrass because I became skeptical about the tea bags. When I take them at night I am usually wake for several hours. The dried herbs, sorrel, ginger, tumeric and lemon does not have the same effect. This article confirms my suspicion. Thx.

  36. You don’t need to buy “tea” (camellia sinensis) as-such. Buy organic herbs and make tea out of them. The variety and combinations there-of
    are endless. My favorite is ginger and licorice, steeped together. Sarsaparilla root is another great one. Roasted (or raw) dandelion root, mullein with wild cherry bark.., its all good.
    Thanks to Food Babe and Herbs-Info for this, though.

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