With the ever-increasing knowledge surrounding the importance of avoiding pesticides, you probably find yourself cutting out certain foods, buying local, organic foods as much as possible, and maybe even growing your own fresh produce from your garden.

Instead of unhealthy drinks such as juice or soda, maybe you have adopted tea into your regimen thinking it is a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, your health intentions may be working against you.

“Tea Steeped in Toxins” Report

Recently a consumer health advocacy and non-profit, Beyond Pesticides released a report called Tea Steeped in Toxins shares some scary details with us:

  • pesticides in teaThe FDA has frequently found that imported teas have a high rate of violations because they contain high levels of illegal pesticides that can cause adverse health effects.. Some of these harmful pesticides include: permethrin (Possible Carcinogen, Endocrine Disruptor, Reproductive/Developmental Effects, Possible Cholinesterase Inhibitor, Neurotoxicant), DDE (Carcinogen, Mutagen, Endocrine Disruptor, Cholinesterase Inhibitor, Possible Neurotoxicant that was banned in the U.S. in 1972), heptachlor epoxide (Carcinogen, Possible Endocrine Disruptor, Reproductive/Developmental Effects, Neurotoxicant).
  • The top 2 major tea producers in the world, China and India have frighteningly weak regulations and a serious lack of enforcement in the pesticides levels found within major tea brands.
  • A 2014 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the FDA tests less than 1/10 of 1% of all imported foods. This is pretty scary because the vast majority of tea we consume is imported from China and India because the United States hardly produces any tea at all.

Pesticide Traces in Some Tea Exceed Allowable Limits

Another investigation led by CBC News studied the pesticide levels in popular companies that manufacture tea. The brands involved in the investigation included:

  • Tetley
  • Signal
  • Twinings
  • No Name
  • Red Rose
  • King Cole
  • Lipton (two specific types, pure green tea and yellow black label tea, were studied)
  • Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (types tested include green tea and jasmine green tea)

Investigators on the CBC team used an accredited lab to conduct the same testing method utilized by the national Food Inspection Agency to determine the pesticide content present on dry tea leaves.

Through the investigation, it was discovered that an alarming number (over 50 percent) of all the teas tested contained pesticide levels higher than the legal limit. In addition, multiple chemicals were found in 8 out of the 10 teas studied with one particular brand containing a shocking 22 various types of pesticides!

Endosulfan and monocrotophos, pesticides that several countries are working to eliminate, exhibit significant health risks to the workers that handle them and also have a negative impact on the environment.

Pesticides In Tea: The Top 3 Offenders!

Although most brands of tea studied only contained trace amounts of pesticides, certain brands contained shocking levels. Read on for a breakdown of the top offenders in terms of pesticide content – be sure to always avoid these brands if you want to limit your exposure to chemicals and harmful pesticides.

1.) Uncle Lee’s Legends of China Green Tea

Uncle Lee’s Legends of China contains an alarming 20 various types of pesticides including endosulfan which is linked to detrimental environmental effects as well as negative health effects such as tremors, nervous system issues, and even death in some cases.

2.) No Name

The No Name brand of tea falls far below the pesticide content of Uncle Lee’s Legends of China but it still contains over 10 separate types of dangerous pesticides.

3.) King Cole

Although not as high in pesticides as No Name tea or Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, King Cole’s tea still contain a wide variety of pesticides including monocrotophos – currently in the process of being banned. Monocrotophos has been proven to cause a wide array of negative health effects such as lack of control over bowel movements, irregular heartbeat, and even induced coma in some cases.

What Do the Tea Corporations Have to Say?

The vice president, James O’Young, of one of the tea companies, Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, defended the pesticide content found in his brand stating that all tea includes pesticides. According to O’Young, “If you drink tea, regular tea, I don’t care what brand it is, the fact of life, this agricultural product does have pesticides,”.

O’Young stated this claim in spite of the investigation completed by CBC that determined that only 1 out of the 10 brands tested, Red Rose, was found to be free from pesticides. The results from the Red Rose tea prove that producing a healthier tea free from pesticides is quite possible. It also proves that top representatives from these companies are willingly and knowingly lying to consumers about the pesticide content.

Choosing Pesticide Free Tea Brands

Consider supporting tea brands that are known to be free of pesticides (or at least lower in pesticides) while avoiding the brands mentioned above that are proven to contain dangerous pesticide levels.

Care.com says “Here’s a fun fact about commercial tea: The first time pesticides are washed off tea leaves is when you steep tea in your cup.”

Experts recommend organic tea as the best option because the pesticides found on regular tea leaves are usually not rinsed off until you steep and infuse them within your cup of tea.

Organic is certified, always tastes better and is good for your body and the environment — it’s a “no-brainer”.

For additional information, check out the tea brands test results (below) from the CBC investigation.

Tea Test Results by Marketplace on Scribd

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