Pesticides may protect plants against insects, but these substances are made of harsh chemicals that are detrimental to human health. That’s why you should stick to organic produce as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. You may try to avoid pesticides, but you can never succeed completely because these harmful chemicals are everywhere around you – school playgrounds are sprayed with them, public parks are sprayed with them, produce you buy at the supermarket is sprayed with them.
And, that’s not all. A recent study revealed that pesticides can still creep into your home, even if you buy organic produce only or wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. Namely, the study found that several popular tea brands including Twinings, Lipton and Tetley contained high amounts of these toxic substances.
Pesticides in Tea
Several popular tea manufacturers were included in a CBC News investigation on pesticide levels:
- Red Rose
- Lipton (Pure Green Tea and Yellow Label Black Tea)
- King Cole
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (Green Tea and Jasmine Green Tea)
- No Name
In a quality control laboratory, the researchers used a single testing method (as the one used by the national Food Inspection Agency) to determine pesticide residue on dry tea leaves. The study results revealed that more than half of all the teas tested contained pesticide residues that were above the recommended allowance. Plus, 8 out of the 10 tea brands tested were also found to contain multiple chemicals, with one of the brands containing over 22 different kinds of pesticides.
Endosulfan and monocrotophos – two types of pesticides found in the teas tested, have been found to seriously harm human health and the environment. It’s because of this that a number of countries have requested for these chemicals to be banned.
Which Are the Best and Worst Tea Brands?
Although most of the tea brands tested contained pesticide residues (except for one brand), several brands were extremely high in pesticides, whereas the others had allowable amounts.
Below is the list of the tea brands highest in pesticide residues:
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (Green Tea) – This particular tea brand was found to pack over 20 different types of pesticides, including endosulfan. We already mentioned that this chemical is under scrutiny and will possibly be banned in several countries due to its harmful effects upon human health and the environment. Studies have linked this substance to side effects such as tremors along with a number of other adverse effects on the nervous system. In some cases, its consumption was fatal.
- No Name –This tea brand had lower pesticide content than Uncle Lee’s Green Tea, yet, it still packed more than 10 different pesticides.
- King Cole –Although this tea brand doesn’t pack as many types of pesticides as the No Name brand, still it packs a number of toxic substances, including monocrotophos. This chemical has been linked to arrhythmias and involuntary defecation. In some cases, it even induced
Unfortunately, the findings related to the pesticide-laden tea brands did not make much difference in the tea industry. James O’ Young, the vice president of Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, the brand found to pack the highest amount of pesticides, defended their tea brand claiming that it more chemical-laden than other tea brands available on the market.
This is his statement given in an interview: “If you drink tea, regular tea, I don’t care what brand is that, the fact of life, this agricultural product does have pesticides.”
But, it appears that Mr. O’ Young has disregarded the fact that one tea brand out of the ten tested was actually found free of pesticides in the CBC’s investigation. Red Rose was the only tea brand that was completely free of chemicals. This fact is extremely important because it shows that tea can be manufactured without retaining any pesticide traces in it. Also, it proves that the representatives of major corporations choose to deceive their consumers about it.
The difference you can make is to choose pesticide-free products and support minor companies rather than put your health at risk by buying chemical-laden tea brands from larger manufacturers.