Some tea companies are replacing traditional paper teabags with plastic ones, but the new bags may be adding billions of tiny bits of plastic to your beverage, a team from Canada reports.
"We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature [205 degrees Fahrenheit] releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage," concluded a team led by Nathalie Tufenkji. She's a professor of chemical engineering at McGill University in Montreal.
"In the past few years, there has been a steadily increasing body of scientific literature demonstrating that not only are microplastics permeating the broader environment, they are entering our bodies, as well," noted Dr Kenneth Spaeth, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. He wasn't involved in the new research.
Spaeth stressed that there's just too little data on whether or not microplastics pose a threat to human health. However, "based on the molecular composition of microplastics, there is a reason to have real concern about the potential health effects," he said, "since they contain a variety of components known to harm human health -- including hormone-disrupting chemicals, as well as human carcinogens."- Webmed