Organic tea, praised for its health benefits, is it not so clean after all? That's what a study by "60 millions de consommateurs" suggests, having found chemical residues, including pesticides, in tea bags. The presence, even in trace amounts, of chemicals on tea leaves could be harmful to health. The point on the issue of pesticides in tea.
Tea, a popular drink
Organic teas, or not, are the second most consumed beverage in France and in the world just after water. Approximately 6 million tons of tea leaves, both black and green teas, are consumed each year throughout the world. If consumption is worldwide, production is spread over only a few countries, mainly China and India.
Pesticides in teas, but not only...
Often cited as an example of their health benefits, are green or black teas really that healthy? The magazine "60 millions de consommateurs" (60 million consumers) has looked into the question with more than worrying observations. Indeed, according to their conclusions, many tea bags available in France contain toxic substances: pesticides, heavy metals and chemicals.
Pesticides in teas
To understand the presence of pesticides in tea, it is important to know that tea leaves are not washed during the preparation process. Thus, like many foods, tea is now a victim of contamination with pollutants. According to studies, black teas and green mint teas contain pesticide residues, sometimes significant or multiple. The pesticides most commonly incriminated in tea contamination are folpet and anthraquinone.
Heavy metals in teas
Unfortunately, there is a so-called cocktail effect in the contamination of plants. It is the addition of different chemical pollutants present, sometimes, in trace form. Thus the analysis of the magazine "60 millions de consommateurs" also points the finger at the heavy metal contamination of many teas. These toxins, mainly found in green teas, are mercury and arsenic.
Other chemical pollutants in teas
The tests used by the magazine to measure the sanitary quality of teas still reveal that some teas contain pollutants and toxins. If the detection of pyrrolizidine alkaloids does not surprise the specialists, the detection of polymers detached from the bags and mineral oils from the labels raises more questions.
The health hazards of pesticides
These toxic substances, whether pesticides or other contaminants, are only present in small quantities. But tea is a daily beverage, and once exposure is chronic, consumers have a right to question the overall impact on their bodies. Indeed, most substances are now classified as endocrine disruptors or carcinogens by the WHO. This is one more reason to turn to a cleaner product with guaranteed sanitary quality.
Are organic teas really pesticide-free?
Pesticide contamination is not only related to the crop itself. With the massive use of this type of product for decades, unfortunately, the water and soil are partly contaminated. While it is impossible to guarantee a totally pesticide-free organic tea, studies have shown that they contain significantly less. Despite the few chemical residues, organic tea, green or black, remains a spearhead of "healthy" foods.