How much do you know about pesticides in tea? Tea is the second most widely-consumed beverage in the world after water. In the U.S., around 80% of households drink tea, and it's increasingly in demand with sales rising by 6% in the last five years. The U.S. is the third largest tea importer in the world, and 69% of tea purchased in the U.S. is bagged tea instead of loose leaf tea.
It's no surprise that the tea market has been expanding with tea being linked to everything from a healthy, natural increased metabolism to cancer prevention. But, do you really know what's in your tea bag? You might want to put down your teacup before reading on.
Organic vs. Non-organic tea
Most of the popular varieties of tea in the U.S., both bagged and loose leaf, are non-organic. China is the world's top exporter of tea, and 80% of conventional green teas are produced there. When tested in numerous different studies, virtually all of the top brands of conventional tea have been found to contain more than 20 different pesticides, some of which are even banned in Europe. In some studies, 91-100% of the brands tested have contained pesticides, including high-end, pricey conventional brands.
Most people would think, surely pesticides must be used in such a small amount that they won't harm me. Well, guess what? The pesticide levels in these popular tea brands were so high that in many cases they were over the safe limit set by the U.S. government. The presence of so many pesticides in a single product is alarming, and levels like those seen in these teas would not be permitted in food.
Kinds of pesticides in tea
So, what kind of pesticides are we talking about here? Really toxic ones that can cause birth defects and cancer. Most of these pesticides have been banned in the U.S. and other nations but still show up in tea due to poor quality control during importation. In fact, some samples of green tea even contained DDT, a cancer-causing pesticide that's banned in the US but used widely throughout China and other Asian countries. Other pesticides commonly found in conventional tea include endosulfan, a hormone disruptor that's banned by the European Union and has been found to cause infertility and harm to unborn babies. What else shows up? Monocrotophos, a highly poisonous toxin that can cause blurred vision, stomach cramps, sweating, nausea, and slurred speech even in small doses. While these toxins have both been banned in the U.S., it doesn't help because they're still used in the countries where most tea is produced.
Propachlor, a known carcinogen in California and a developmental toxin, often pops up in tea, as does Ortho-phenylphenol, another carcinogen. Dimethoate, one of the most commonly used insecticides, also appears frequently, which is a carcinogen and has caused birth defects in animal studies.
To top it all off, tea leaves are not washed before being ground up and put in your tea bag or sold to you as loose tea. This means that when are you brewing tea, all those pesticides go right into your water and ultimately into your body. The most dangerous part is, due to lack of testing and quality control measures, you have absolutely no way of knowing which and how much of these pesticides you're being exposed to with conventional tea.
Fortunately, you don't have to stop drinking tea to avoid all these dangerous pesticides and still get all the amazing health benefits of tea. To ensure that you're drinking the healthiest tea possible, it is now possible to drink tested and guaranteed pesticide-free tea. This tested, USDA Certified Organic tea lets you bypass all the dangers of conventional tea and gives you pure, healthy tea along with peace of mind.
In addition to pesticide testing, the quality control standards for organic teas are much more rigorous than they are for conventional ones. All ingredients must be clearly labeled, so you won't have to worry about any hidden ingredients. To be certified organic, all reviews are carried out by an independent, government-approved inspector who inspects the products, farm, and farming practices of the company. No synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, irradiation, or GMOs are allowed. You can quickly identify an organic tea by looking for the USDA Certified Organic seal on the front of the package.
At California Tea House we pride ourselves in having the largest collection of guaranteed pesticide-free, USDA Certified Organic loose leaf tea available anywhere. Enjoy!