The first recorded use of tea as a beverage was in 3rd century China. It became part of the British culture almost 1400 years later, and even later introduced to North America. Today, more than 80 percent of households in America drink tea at least once weekly.
Tea is becoming more and more popular every year, and many companies use tea’s health benefits as a main part in their marketing materials.
The virtues of drinking tea have continued the surge in tea sales regardless if the tea is brown, green, or red. However, the Canadian news service CBC has conducted a study which showed that 9 out of 10 popular tea brands in North America contain toxic pesticides.
The health benefits of tea are undermined by the pesticides it contains, since many of them are well-known carcinogens, and some brands even include a lot higher number than the “allowable” limits.
Pesticides in Tea
The 2004 CBC Marketplace investigation discovered that 9 of the 10 most popular teas in Canada contain harmful pesticides. The contaminated teas are the following:
- Tetley – green tea
- Twinings – Earl Grey
- Lipton – yellow label black tea
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – jasmine green tea
- Signal – orange pekoe
- King Cole – orange pekoe
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – green tea
- No Name – black tea
- Lipton – pure green tea
They were all found to contain pesticides, but some in a comparatively low amounts that shouldn’t cause any health problems. 6 of them contained pesticides in the “allowable” level, but 3 contained dangerously high level of pesticides.
The Three Most Poisonous Tea
#3 Twinings Earl Grey. This tea contains 10 different toxic chemical compounds and it’s the third highest pesticide tea in the list. The most frequently found pesticide in this tea is Acetamiprid. This pesticide is proven to cause muscle weakness, severe nausea, convulsions, hypothermia, and vomiting.
#2 Tetley green tea. This tea has been proven to have increased levels of both chlorfenapyr and acetamiprid. Even small doses of the first chemical have been proven to be fatal to people. Chlorfenapyr slowly works in the system so it may cause death even after 2 weeks after the ingestion. The report by the CBC Marketplace showed that there are 18 pesticides in the final product of Tetley’s tea.
#1 Uncle Lee’s Legends of China green tea. This is officially the most toxic tea found in grocery stores. It contains chlorfenapyr and acetamiprid 10 times more than the “available” limits. It also contains bifenthrin in dangerous amounts, which is proved to increase the risk of cancer.
The only tea from the ten tested that didn’t contain any pesticide was Red Rose. Their orange pekoe tea is one of the rare ones that is both, tasty and healthy at the same time, not causing any risk to the health of their consumers or the environment.
Besides excluding the usage of pesticide in their content, Red Rose farm sustainably without damaging or destroying the nature which is why they are Rainforest Alliance certified. As a company, they are adhering to Fairtrade legislation, and care about improving the working conditions for their employees. This said, Red Rose are the most ethical and healthiest option of tea.
Natural Tea Brands
It’s always the customers’ decision to choose what they are going to put inside their bodies. So, we should as well look more closely even at those brands that claim to be natural to see what they offer.
There are some popular natural tea brands like Tazo, Trader Joe’s and Yogi, which came under public scrutiny for using pesticides, GMO ingredients, and “natural flavors”. The issue was widespread quickly via the Internet, but there are still no available proves that will back these claims. However, it did changed a lot.
In the past two years, Yogi made a drastic changes due to the reaction of their consumers, like excluding the use of any pesticides. However, the ingredient named as “natural flavors” is still present. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing that some companies care about the opinion of their customers and make slow but still beneficial steps in solving one problem at a time. Traditional Medicinals and Numi are two organic tea brands that enjoy excellent reputation.
To protect your health, as well as the environment, avoid using brands which include pesticides in their products. If more people stand against these companies, they will be forced to change their production methods.