Alternative Medicine

9 pesticide-filled teas you should never buy (and the kind you should)!

It is an interesting fact that the earliest record of people consuming tea was in third-century in China. In addition, it actually took around 1400 years for it to become a staple part of British culture, before being brought over the Atlantic to North America. Today, more than 80% of households across the continent drink tea at least once a week.

As the tea popularity continues to increase, its health benefits are continuously placed at the forefront of a great number of company’s marketing materials.

But, a study by the Canadian news service CBC has shown that nine of the ten most popular tea brands in North America contain toxic pesticides.

Namely, the presence of these pesticides undermines the health benefits of tea, since many of them are well-known carcinogens and the numbers found in some of the brands were far greater than the scientifically backed allowable limits.

The presence of pesticides in tea

According to the 2014 CBC Marketplace investigation, nine of the ten most popular teas in Canada were contaminated with pesticides through either direct treatment or field runoff, including:

- Twinings – Earl Grey

- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – green tea

- Tetley – green tea

- Signal – orange pekoe

- Lipton – yellow label black tea

- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – jasmine green tea

- King Cole – orange pekoe

- No Name – black tea

- Lipton – pure green tea

Even though all these brands were found to contain pesticides, some of them had a comparatively low level that is unlikely to trigger any noticeable health damage. Moreover, six of the nine were below the allowable limits, but three of them had a dangerously high number of pesticides.

These tea brands contain the highest pesticide levels:

- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – green tea

This tea is officially the most toxic tea that is available in grocery stores. Alongside ten times the allowable levels of acetamiprid and chlorfenapyr, this tea brand also contains dangerous levels of bifenthrin, which has been extensively studied, showing to increase the possibility of developing cancer.

- Tetley – green tea

This tea has been proven to have increased levels of acetamiprid as well as chlorfenapyr. The second pesticide has been found to be fatal even in small doses.

What’s more, cases of chlorfenapyr poisoning indicate that the chemical acts slowly in the system and can lead to fatality up to two weeks after the initial ingestion. According to the CBC report, Tetley’s tea possessed 18 pesticides in its finished product.

- Twinings – Earl Grey

It contains the third highest pesticide content with ten different toxic chemical compounds. The most frequently identified pesticide was acetamiprid that has been found to trigger vomiting, muscle weakness, severe nausea, hypothermia, and convulsions.

The winner – Red Rose

This tea was the only one that absolutely does not contain any pesticides of the ten teas that were tested. Their orange pekoe tea is proof that it is really possible to prepare delicious, healthy hot beverage without damaging the health of the customers as well as the environment.

Besides Red Rose’s lack of pesticide use, it is also Rainforest Alliance certified, which means they farm without unnecessary natural damage or destruction. That’s not all, as a company, they are actually committed to improving the working conditions for their employees and adhering to Fair-trade legislation, making them the healthy and ethical tea of choice.

Are the Natural Tea Brands the best option?

Just because a brand claims to be natural, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look closely at what they’re really offering. So, it’s always up to you as a consumer to make wise decisions about what you are consuming.

There are some popular natural brands, like Trader Joe’s, Yogi, and Tazo, which have come under public scrutiny for use of pesticides, adding in natural flavors, as well as using GMO ingredients. Although the internet community made the issue widespread, aside from this report on Teavana, there weren’t actually a lot of high-level reports available to the public to back every claim.

But, in the last 2 years, Yogi seems to have made various changes in response to their consumer’s outrage, including eliminating any known traces of pesticides. Unluckily, natural flavors is still listed as an ingredient to date, thus leaving room for unaccountability.

Ultimately, we’re happy to see that some companies are listening to the public and making the right changes one step at a time. In case you’re wondering what to buy, two organic tea brands that have an excellent reputation are Numi and Traditional Medicinals.

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