Researchers found that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) released approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage.
“We were very, very surprised,” Dr. Tufenkji told Global News.
“We thought [plastic tea bags] maybe release a couple of hundred [plastic] particles, maybe a few thousand. So we were really shocked when we saw they’re releasing billions of particles into a cup of tea.”
The research states that while the possible health effects of ingesting these particles are currently unknown further investigation is needed to determine if the plastics could have more subtle or chronic effects on humans.
After a plastic-free tea? Here are some plastic-free tea bags:
- Lipton Quality Black and Intense traditional tea bags are made from Manilla hemp and cellulose fibres
- T2's new teabags are now made from cornstarch and are biodegradable
- Tielka tea bags are made from corn fibre
Otherwise, opt for loose leaf and a good ol' fashion tea pot or strainer.