Watch out for those plastic tea bags....

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debunix
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:23 am

Hot off the presses from Quirks and Quarks today:

"Not long ago Nathalie Tufenkji, a professor of Chemical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, was surprised to discover that the tea she'd been served in a local shop came in a plastic tea bag.

The bag was made of a fine synthetic fabric, soft and silky in texture. Tufenkji, whose done research previously on microplastics, was curious about whether the combination of this plastic bag and hot water would cause the plastic to shed microplastic particles into the cup.

She had her student Laura Hernandez shop to find an assortment of these bags, which seem to be relatively new to the market, and then tested them in her lab.

They were alarmed to discover that the bags did indeed shed large amounts of microplastic and nanoplastic particles — billions of them, in fact."

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.9b02540
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nasalfrog
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Location: Tulsa, OK

Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:47 am

Thanks for the heads up. I've never used them, but some of my family has. I had no idea those were plastic.
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Shine Magical
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Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:16 am

That's sad, since I believe a paper teabag would be cheaper and they're just using these teabags for a more premium feel and so that you can see the leaves inside a little bit better.
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Teaandme
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Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:16 pm

I ended up "reporting" on this, or sharing or what have you.

Basically, a professor of Chemical Engineering, Nathalie Tufenkji, went to get a tea from a local cafe and realized that her tea bag was made out of plastic. She grew concerned and then, being a professor and having the resources, decided to test them. She had students buy a variety of bagged teas and then emptied the tea bags before brewing them in 203 degrees Fahrenheit water. They found that: “We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage ”

The offending material was a sachet made out of PET (Polyester) and nylon. This is considered a food-grade plastic. Others have pointed out that even a heat seal on the tea bags could contain plastic. More research needs to be done on this and if there are any dangers to potentially ingesting billions of micro and nano plastics. I found two articles showing which brands have plastic-free tea bags and which ones are the worst offenders: Which Tea Bags are Free of Plastic and Plastic-Free tea bags: Which brands are and which aren't?.

If you want to see my entire article, you can see it here.
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