Just when you thought the planet couldn’t get any more fucked, a study from the American Chemical Society has found that a single tea bag can release over 11 billion microplastic particles into your tea. Mmm… tea is a beverage best served hot with a side of potentially poisonous micro and nanoplastics.
The recent study by researchers at McGill University in Canada showed that tea bags made of plastic can release up to 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles per cup of tea, CBS News reports. It is currently unknown whether the plastics are dangerous to humans, but it doesn’t take an expert to know that you probably shouldn’t drink plastic infused tea.
“We urgently need to know more about the health impact of microplastics because they are everywhere — including in our drinking water,” World Health Department Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health director Dr. Maria Neira said.
According to a statement released by the American Chemical Society “these levels were thousands of times higher than those reported previously in other foods.”
So, on top of swimming in it, and being surrounded by it in every part of your day-to-day life, you now also need to be worried about drinking it in your morning cuppa.
During the study, the team removed the leaves from the plastic tea bags to avoid any potential interference. They then boiled the bags at a normal tea-brewing temperature to see how much plastic we’re ingesting when we’re drinking our morning English brekkie.
Most tea bags are made of paper, but are sealed with plastic. However, those *premium* pyramid ones that are apparently designed to infuse your tea better are usually made out of plastic-based mesh. So maybe being a cheapo is better for your health if you’re not a fan of eating plastic for breakfast.
According to a separate study from earlier in 2019, we consume 5g of plastic per week, which is like munching on a credit card every week, according to 9 News.
Until further research is conducted, scientists behind the study warn people to avoid plastic tea bags and opt for alternatives wherever possible.
“Tea can be purchased in paper tea bags or as loose-leaf tea, which eliminates the need for this single-use plastic packaging,” researchers told New Scientist.