Cold weather has arrived in the northern hemisphere and many people around the world are enjoying a hot cup of tea. Unfortunately, news that many common brands of herbal teas are laced with illegally high levels of agricultural pesticides has shocked tea lovers in the United States and abroad.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) took a look at pesticide levels in popular teas. After all, the British majority who live in the United States’ northern neighbor country simply must have their afternoon tea. Those thirsty Canucks consume “almost 10 billion cups of tea a year.”
The CBC sent both black and green teas to an independent and accredited laboratory to see if they contained any detectable pesticide traces.
The teas selected were major brands found in supermarkets and used by restaurants. Millions of people (myself included) enjoy an antioxidant, health-giving herbal infusion on a daily basis. Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot believed that his tisanes (herbal teas) helped “the little grey cells” puzzle out mysterious cases.
Among the brands the CBC had analyzed were some many of us Yanks would recognize Lipton, Red Rose, Tetley, and Twinings. Other brands tested are less familiar south of the Canadian border: No Name, Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, King Cole, and Signal.
The results of the pesticide investigation were alarming. Every other tea tested had pesticide residues over Canada’s legal limits. Eight of the ten brands tested positive for the presence of multiple toxins. One brand won first prize for illegal contents with 22 different pesticides.
Please note that Red Rose brand tea won first prize for safety. It has ZERO pesticide residues. Bravo! We have to wonder how they did it when all the others failed?
Here are the most poisonous tea brands from the CBC independent study:
- Lipton (Pure Green Tea, Yellow Label and Black Tea)
- No Name
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (Green and Jasmine Green Tea)
- King Cole
All the immune system benefits and digestive help drinking herbal teas gives are wiped away if imbibers develop cancer or some other terminal medical disease that robs them of life too soon from ingesting known toxins.
Pesticides are so toxic that some countries are in the process of banning them outright. Along with cancer, pesticide exposure has been linked to ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, reproductive problems, and birth defects.
The body’s natural hormone production systems are the nerves and endocrine glands. Pesticides attack these systems and cause great harm. Mothers can pass pesticides through the umbilical cord to their unborn babies. Birth defects have been associated with in utero pesticide exposure.
Pesticides build up in the body over time and can eventually cause great damage.
There is another hidden danger to name-brand tea bags that are sprayed with epichlorohydrin. This chemical is a chlorinated epoxy (glue) compound used as an industrial solvent.
Tea manufacturers know epichlorohydrin causes cancer. But it also prevents wear and tear on the tea’s wrapper. For some reason (profits perhaps?), the companies listed above chose to spray the tea bags anyway.
Dow Chemical calls it very dangerous and advises special handling procedures. Hot water releases the toxin into the hot beverage.
One way to avoid tea bag toxicity is to go organic. Buy loose leaf tea – in bulk if you can find and afford it. Then indulge in a stainless steel or silicon strainer and by-pass all the pesticides and industrial solvents the major tea makers see fit to offer the trusting public.
Another advantage of buying bulk teas and herbs is the cost savings.
Research has shown that drinking herbal teas that do not contain pesticides, or other harmful chemical additives are extremely health-giving. A partial list of medical conditions that are improved by consuming tisanes regularly include:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease (dementia)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cholesterol levels drop
- Mental focus improves
Why take a chance on toxic poisoning from your tea habit? Go organic. Go bulk. Go strainer!