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Risks of drinking tea? (even in cups)?


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Alex, what do you think? Why do you raise the question? Tell us more. Presumably you've done some background research that compels you to pose this question, no? (Or do you want us to do the research? Some may be happy to, of course.) Thanks.

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I've wondered about this same thing before too.  I assume that plastics are off limits for hot beverages and perhaps cold beverages too, and that normal solid coffee cups are fine (are they made of porcelain?). Metal containers seem fine too in terms of degradation, but this is based only on my experience with them.  Meanwhile the porcelain cup seems to be able to survive thousands of hot beverages, while still looking exactly the same.


I choose tea-bags that are biodegradable.  My assumption (which may be mistaken) is that if it is biodegradable, it's less likely to have harmful components.  


I have wondered the same thing as you though.  The tea leaves themselves may be an important source of contamination.  Dr. Greger's recent video highlighted some of this: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lead-contamination-of-tea/

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Yes tea contamination is an issue. Here is a post about it, including discussion of Dr. Greger's video on tea contamination.


I brew loose organic, sencha green tea. I drink it (and my cold-brewed coffee/chocolate concoction) from a stainless steel tumbler to avoid plastic leeching issues. I drink it through a straw to avoid teeth staining and the acidifying effects of the lemon I add to the tea.


But hey, that's just me. Since you're new around here, you may not yet have noticed I'm a bit obsessive... :)xyz



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I realized after posting the above message that I didn't know much about the pedigree of the Davidson sencha green tea I drink. So I contacted them this afternoon asking where they get their tea and if they can share results of tests of their product for contaminants and heavy metals. I was pleased to get a very quick response. Unfortunately it wasn't very satisfying (see below). Basically their tea comes from China, not Japan as recommended by Dr. Greger. They say they buy from suppliers who provide test results for heavy metals that "meet Prop 65 and/or national standards. Besides that, we carry out random tests to validate the results on lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic content to name a few compounds. Unfortunately per company policy we do not release those results, however you are welcome to have your own testing done."


What do people think? Is that a satisfying response, or should I look to buy my tea from somewhere else? Michael or others, where do you get your Sencha from?





Dear Dean,


Thank you for contacting Davidson's.  Many tea plantations are located in
close proximity to urban areas or cities, and hence exposed to industrial
contamination of all sorts (noise, air, water, pollution, smog etc.).
However, Davidson’s only sources organic tea from small farmer tea estates
and gardens that are in rural areas and/or high altitude areas away from
such environmental toxic contamination, and relying on nature for
agricultural nourishment, balance and purity. Davidson’s tea buyers travel
the world days at a time, to visit these pristine natural eco-systems to
bring you only the finest organic tea leaves. Additionally, we randomly test
our teas for pesticides, heavy metals or other toxic substances, to validate
our product integrity.

Proposition 65 is a regulation that applies to any food product/service
received or used in the State of California. It applies to over 800
chemicals identified as carcinogens and reproductive toxins, whether they
are natural or artificial. Lead, for example, is one of the compounds
monitored by national and international agencies. It’s a natural occurring
element that is found in the environment, including soil. Lead is harmful to
humans and animals if exposed, inhaled or consumed in high doses. This is
why the food industry is paying special attention to control the content of
lead in food and drinks. Prop 65 Safe Harbor Maximum Allowable Dose Level
for lead indicates that product containing lead at 0.5 micrograms/day and
higher must be labeled. However, the FDA indicates that a tolerable daily
intake level of lead is 75 micrograms for adults and 6 micrograms for
children. The federal safety standard set by the FDA (Food and Drugs
Administration) for lead in dietary supplements is no more than 10 ppm.
International standards are often 5 ppm. Agencies don’t seem to agree on
what the ideal tolerable parameter should be, but we assure customers that
we choose suppliers who provide us with a certificate of analysis and other
documentation showing the heavy metals content of their products, and that
they conform to Prop 65 and/or national standards. Besides that, we carry
out random tests to validate the results on lead, cadmium, mercury and
arsenic content to name a few compounds.

Unfortunately per company policy we do not release those results, however
you are welcome to have your own testing done.

Our Sencha green tea is sourced from China.

Thank you for choosing Davidson's Organics.



Kaylie Clark
Davidson's Organics - Teas, Herbs, Cocoa & Spices
Toll Free/Customer Service: 1-800-882-5888
Fax: 1-775-356-3713
Email: info@davidsonstea.com
Web: www.davidsonstea.com
Watch our Video Customer Testimonials

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Don't we know (?) that people who drink tea are somewhat healthier than those who don't? 


Isn't this like the people who rant all the time about pesticides on vegetables when we know full well people who eat vegetables are healthier than those who do not?


Granted, PERHAPS some producers have healthier tea/vegetables than others.  But how likely is it you will ever find out the truth about which suppliers are the healthiest?


Just like the olive oil rants we see all the time.  Everyone who consumes it (I avoid it) believes their own particular supplier provides the perfect product because he says so.  While everyone else's product is useless at best, and dreadful at worst.  But without several hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment no one can know if the contamination claims are true (forgetting for a moment about the evidence that monounsaturated fats clog arteries just as effectively as saturated fats).  And how often is someone selling the product (assuming he even knows) going to tell you that his tea/vegetables/olive oil is far more contaminated than that of this competitors?


My take is that discussions of this type are likely to be about as constructive as counting the number of angels that can be put on the head of a pin.  In other words:  there comes a point in all of this where the diminishing returns have dimimished to nanoscopically small.  IMO.


But feel free to continue of course!



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Haha, yeah Rodney. My view is every damned thing we chew and swallow and drink and swallow is ultimately "unhealthy." Fruits and vegetables are certainly less unhealthy, but haha newsflash: fruits & vegetables didn't grow their sweet leaves and succulent orbs in order that we miserable primates acheive fab-optimum health at their expenses. They grew like we grew: for their own pointless and random survival. Every breath we take is killing us.


Is hot tea in plastic cups more unhealthy than hot tea in ceramic cups? Yes. Don't do plastic. Is the tea bag unhealthy? No. Do that.

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Since deadly tea is on the menu, are there any preformed opinions on cold-brew tea? I've been drinking Lipton Cold Brew Tea like...




... because I am literally too lazy to boil water. But it is either that or diet soda.


Is there a recommended electric tea kettle (esp if using loose tea leaf)? [uS 120V 60Hz 15amps or less - we're not lucky like the Brits and their 3000 watt 220volt tea kettles!]

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I rarely use tea bags, and almost always use ceramic or paper cups - the latter lined with some kind of waxy substance.  But I have to warn myself not to become excessively paranoid about it.  Modestly paranoid is OK!  IMO it may be better to get the big details right, and not worry too much about the little details.  Especially the little details which, in reality, we have no real knowledge of or control over.



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Then again, perhaps my sometimes-proximity to the Arctic Ocean has fried my brains?


Incidentally, a couple of months ago I was bragging here about how infrequently I catch the common cold - I seem to recall I could not remember the last time this had happened.  Well yesterday I had to discuss stuff with an employee at Walmart for several minutes.  I noticed at the time that she seemed to be coughing rather too frequently, and I made a mental note of it. 


Just three hours later I noticed I had a slight sore throat.  So I attacked it with salt water gargle.  That seems to have solved the throat issue, but I now have all the typical symptoms of the common cold.  I need to make a note of the date so that in the future I will be able to brag about it accurately.



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Every breath we take is killing us.

That reminds me. Did anyone see the news story about the new study supposedly showing oxygen causes lung cancer? At some level it's true, every breath we take brings us one step closer to death, and the very metabolic processes that keep us alive are ultimately doing us damage.


But fortunately, this new study was pretty well deconstructed here, so it is probably not worth going out and buying (or building) a home hypobaric oxygen chamber:)xyz



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Regarding electric tea kettles. I've had one for many years, but don't tend to use it, largely because I now mostly cold brew coffee and tea (no boiling required!). When I do heat water for tea or other purposes, I generally do it in my microwave. Quite inefficient no doubt, but electricity is pretty cheap.



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I guess I meant that familiar ole meme that we can't even breathe without causing more damage. Nor may we eat, drink tea from ceramic or plastic, gaze our sweet angelic faces into sunshine without causing terribleness. Does one earthly activity exist that doesn't cause damage? Nope. And so we aim to cut losses (ceramic not plastic; tea leaves not tea bags) and dream about the repair dreams that are coming tomorrow. We can't repair much yet, though, because we're too divided and argumentative and poor. So we need objective machines to guide us out of this mess: drink this, not that, breathe this way, not that way, listen to this song, but do not listen to that song because that song -- yes that one -- that song causes non-reversible brain damage.


AI + CRISPR-Cas9 = one way out of the damage caused by walking around in my organic hemp rope sandals and minding my own business? The AI tells us which genes need help. Tells us which areas of the body are so filled with goo. Mop the goo that was caused by innocently eating locally-harvested, fresh, organic collard greens drizzled in only the highest of high-polyphenolic olive oil (a poison that is only a little less poisonous than other oily options).


Smile more often.

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  • 2 months later...



When I asked the folks at Davidson's Teas about contamination, they said they did spot checks of their teas to make sure they meet California Prop 65 standards. If you're curious, here is a PDF document with those standards for all the usual heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic etc.) and a whole lot of other chemicals.



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I use Lipton green tea bags for the caffeine type and bigelow organic decaf green tea. I made the decision on fairly recent lab tests at consumer lab.com which I subscribe to. My criterion was highest egcg levels and lowest contaminates based on their independent tests.


Using loose leaf is risky because the tea bags trap contaminates

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  • 11 months later...



I don't use tea bags to make my daily tea: I brew the tea myself, from loose, organic, high quality white tea leaves,

which I purchase on-line, from a very reliable tea purveyor (Upton Tea). I brew a huge pot every morning, and drink

it all day (but mostly in the morning).


White tea is the least processed tea -- the leaves are simply air dried, usually in the sun. The minimal

processing probably leaves most of the bennies of the tea intact.


There have been studies that indicate the advantages of drinking green tea -- but, to the best of my knowledge,

none focussed on white tea. Green teas are the "next to the least" processed -- so my guess is that quality

white teas would, if tested, come out ahead.


Tea bags are very inferior, whichever kind of tea you consume. They are filled with what is called the "flashings"

-- the powder left behind in packaging, possibly good, teas. The full leaves are needed, to brew a really

good tea.


-- Saul

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