21 Jan Tea Bags | Fatal Conveniences™
Tea is an amazing way to utilize the health benefits of plants. I drink tea daily, and you should, too. But do we really want to soak a bag made of who-knows-what in hot water and drink it? Folks, it’s time to talk about store-bought tea bags.
Welcome to Fatal Conveniences™
This is a bite-sized segment that parallels The Darin Olien Show. In these segments, we get into society’s Fatal Conveniences™. I define these as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to. These things save us time and trick us into thinking they’re actually good for us. But it’s those same things that are breaking down our health, and the health of the environment around us.
I’ve spent most of my adult life obsessively researching these “conveniences.” On every show, I pick one topic, and we dive into it. My goal is to make you more aware of these traps so that you can push back on them. Remember, it starts with you and the choices you make.
So, if you’re willing to look at your world from a different perspective and make little tweaks that amount to big changes, then this segment is for you.
Most store-bought tea bags are made of layered plastic.
Yes, your healthy green, black and other herbal teas come in a bag full of toxic plastic. Then you’re seeping this plastic bag into hot water as its toxins leak into the liquid. You’re drinking plastic tea! This is terrible, guys. Tea is a healthy product. And we’re transforming it into something unhealthy. Why? Because it’s cheaper for companies to make a leak-free bag out of plastic than other materials. This is just silly.
In this segment, I’m going to break down how and why tea bags are made with toxic plastic and what it’s doing to your body. I don’t want you to stop drinking tea, I just want you to be aware of better alternatives. I prefer using a stainless steel mesh tea ball or just making loose leaf teas. But there are some amazing tea companies out there making safe tea bags, so I’ll tell you all about those, too. Listen up, guys, it’s tea time.
Other info in this segment:
- The history of tea bags
- What chemicals lurk in the tea bag materials
- The major brands to avoid
- The majesty that is loose leaf tea
- Tea balls
- Responsible brands that make safe tea bags
Links & Resources:
Darin: It’s that time of the week for another fatal convenience. This is a bite-size segment that addresses some of society’s fatal conveniences and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them. I define fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, tap water, shampoo, sunglasses, food. I dive into the hidden truths behind some of our everyday choices that could not only be harming us but even killing us, so let’s dive in.
Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. Thanks for tuning in. This is an exciting, freeing episode of Fatal Convenience where I’m revealing another opportunity to free yourself from people in corporations and corporations themselves that have placed us in harm’s way to our health. And although I don’t think people are doing this out of being evil or bad, they just haven’t looked at it, but we need to push back. And when they do know about it, they need to change it because there’s a lot of that crap going on because they’re only looking at the bottom line. This fatal convenience today is about “are tea bags safe?” Now, think about it. You are pouring hot water over a teabag. Your only objective is to extract the medicinal botanical wonderous properties of whatever herb or leaf or plant that you want that extract from not thinking about whatever you’re pouring hot water over is also creating the opportunity for other things to be extracted. So think about the teabags a little differently this time. So obviously, the comfort of a tea having in a bag, pouring over it, and having this wonderful mint tea or green tea or black tea is fantastic, but what we found out and what we continue to find out is dangerous chemicals that are in these materials. So the history a little bit is, you know, there was never one point where someone said, yeah, we need to put tea bags over our leaves because it was always a loose-leaf kind of operation in the 1900s. But as this American actually, Thomas Sullivan, was running the New York tea merchant business in around 1908. Sullivan was sending out samples to his customers, all these new teas and whatever, and he put these in small silk bags. And what people just did, instead of having this loose tea, they ended up without his instruction, they just put it in the cup and poured hot water over it and therefore, the convenience of having a tea bag without having the teas everywhere and trying to take the teas out when you’ve poured the water over it. The tea bag was super convenient. Then Sullivan went and say, “Hey, okay, cool. This is a good idea.” He used gauze for a bit and then he eventually replaced it with paper, so like thin paper. And then some modern bags kind of moved into nylon and then reintroduced to silk, but the problem is that this paper now because it doesn’t want to break, they started layering it with food-grade plastics. First off, reading this stuff and going food-grade plastics, what the hell are you talking about? It doesn’t exist, but the food-grade plastics are using propylene terephthalate or PET. The British took longer to embrace, they actually just continued to use the tea leaf until the 1960s, and then that was only about 3% of the market. And eventually, the study from the UK Tea and Infusions Association, yes, that does exist, by 2007, it was 96% of the British market and of course everywhere else. Very, very few people are using loose leaf tea extraction. And I think at the end of this you will probably want to. So literally, it’s hard to find a house that doesn’t have tea with tea bags all over in it, certainly in Britain, certainly in the United States, everywhere. There are an estimated 165 million cups of tea that are consumed per day in Britain alone. The Journal of Environmental Science and Technology says it’s possible that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastics per year. So not only is the PET particulates, but then it’s the hard compounds in the PET, but then it’s the microplastics. Literally, physical plastics that are in that. They also estimated that there were also nano particulates as well. So there’s a whole lot, 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particulates per year of people consuming that. So the microplastics is just a huge, huge contributor of microplastic. We’re going to find out a little bit more of that. So the convenience here is it’s free of the mess, but there’s also a lot of other things you can do. It’s still that convenient. It’s easy, it’s faster, it’s convenient. It’s easy to buy. It’s got this cute little string to it. And keep in mind, it’s got this staple and that staple also has heavy metals and leaching into it. It’s not like they clean those things, they just staple it. But then obviously this polypropylene that’s in there, those are all dangerous things. So why should we care? Because we don’t want to consume plastic. I think it’s up to, per year each person consumes about a credit card’s worth of plastic just by normal eating. But this one is extremely dangerous because you’re pouring hot liquid over and extracting it right in the water. You’re making plastic tea. Hear me again, these people are cutting corners and layering plastic in your tea bags so it conveniently doesn’t break when you pour it on there. It’s cheap. So you’re making herbal tea, you’re making plastic tea and consuming them. And that is just a gnarly thing. Plus, they’re using glues, so you’re consuming these glues and all of that stuff. So McGill University peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology concluded that steeping a single plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of about 95 degrees Centigrade releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nano plastics into a single cup of the beverage. I’ll have this in the show notes just so you can look and go, what the frickin hell is going on? That is crazy. The first author of the study, a Ph.D. student, Laura Hernandez, says more research is needed to determine if these plastics could have more subtle or chronic effects on humans. What? More research? I love it when scientists say that more research needs to be conducted to see if these nano and microplastics are good for you that are petroleum-based and have PETs and detrimental hormone-disrupting chemicals, and we need to do more studies. Yes, we need to do more studies on how horrible they are, but we don’t need to do more studies on whether we should continue to use them because it’s clear and the evidence is already there. Some of the research where they were using shrimp-like creatures, they’re like water fleas. And they were seeing how long it would take to kill these things for their atomical and behavioral abnormalities to show up. And so those were some of the studies that they did on the water fleas. And then also Nathaniel Tiffany Jig of McGill University in Quebec told The New Scientist Journal, “The sum of plastic in a cup of tea is thousands of times greater in mass than levels that are found in the table salt.” So these guys already knew that table salt had tons of microplastic, but this is thousands of times more detrimental. They have been reported to contain approximately 0.005 micrograms of plastic per gram. She goes on to say, “With tea, you’re literally adding plastic into the beverage,” from the researcher. In 2009, BBC released a TV program called The War on Plastic and the tea bags were a topic and they covered and they went over some of the research that they had found. In the show, they also partnered with University of East Anglia to conduct tests of six of Britain’s biggest tea brands. And in order to find out how much plastic was included in the bags, each one of the tea bags were placed in copper aluminum solution for five days, which dissolved any material apart from plastic. While the tests showed some tea bags degraded and broke down easily, others included significant amounts of non-biodegradable plastic. They all contain plastic called polypropylene, which can take hundreds of thousands of years to decompose. And that’s what you’re drinking. That’s what you’re drinking. Teabags are layered multiple times with plastic fibers. In normal tea bags, they put a thin layer of plastic fiber over the top of the paper before they put the tea in it, explains Andrew May is a senior lecturer in chemistry at the University of East Anglia. Then another thin layer of plastic and then another layer of plastic so they can very rapidly seal the edges by the heat. So cool. That’s convenient. Great. But then you’re creating plastic tea. Teabags may not contain the whole leaves in this whole thing of like inferior use of the plant to which I’m not going to get into. Some of the major tea brands aren’t even containing the actual leaf that has the most compounds in it. And so some of these cheap tea companies are definitely taking in more plastic than you’re taking beneficial compounds. And that’s just a gnarly thing. So plastics leach out of that tea bag and cause all kinds of problems. From the Environmental Working Group, they said that when you subject plastics to stressors such as heat, the molecules begin to break down, and then they can leach, no matter whether it’s in a microwave or a cup of hot water and it’s warming the contents, and this is from Sonia Lawter, MPH, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. So they’ve known this for a long time. And the dangers of polypropylene is extreme, and it’s an unknown and powerful endocrine disruptor. So children going into menstruation early, women messing up, and later in life, your hormones, men neutering us, our testosterone has plummeted or motility of sperm is going away. This is just another thing creating genetic mutations and tumors that is known by the polypropylene research. They are part of the problem of toxic environmental waste. So now you’ve got this environmental thing. You know, every time is harmful to you, it’s always harmful to the environment. So now you’re taking these teabags, might as well just start throwing plastic out your window because they’re layered, they don’t biodegrade, they get thrown in the regular trash, they get buried in the ground, and they do not break down. And each tea bag is about 50 milligrams of plastic. And it permeates throughout the environment, and it’s already small, so it’s already creating danger for the downstream animals. And then it just builds it up over time. So you’ve got microplastics, you’ve got heavy metals coming off the staple. You’ve got polypropylene, endocrine disruption. Stop using tea bags. You can get these little stainless steel little mesh balls. Pour the loose tea leaves in there and use them over and over and over again without any leaching, etc. That’s what I do. That’s what I love. But there are also some great companies that are not using plastic that is aware of this stuff. One is Traditional Medicinals. It’s a great tea company. I’ve actually been researching and finding medicinal plants throughout remote China with Yoseph, one of the great botanists of our time. Pukka is a great company, Numitis, Republic of Tea is a great one, and Stash, and Yogi Tea. But I would say getting a better quality tea potentially is using looseleaf with a little ball that you can just put that in there, screw it tight and drop that into hot water. That’s a great one. So we need to petition always to force these manufacturers, these cheap tea companies from using these plastics in teas. It’s just ridiculous. Some of these triangular teas that look all classy and they’re kind of meshy, that’s probably a really, really bad plastic. So we need to be very clear that you’re using biodegradable plant-based teas from great companies like I mentioned. There’s a bunch of the stuff in the show notes, and that’s it. So please, very easy. This one’s really easy to switch. Don’t buy tea from people that are using plastics. Replace it with some of them that I mentioned or just go looseleaf. Boom. Done. Fatal convenience, less toxic exposure makes you healthier, happier, doesn’t mess up your master endocrine hormonal system and you’re off to the races able to navigate better your life because when your hormones are off, you know what happens. The really bad thing. So I love you. Thanks for tuning in. Pass this on. Our parents, our grandparents have been drinking tea forever. Stop taking the plastic tea. No more. I love you all. Thanks for tuning in.
Darin: Thanks for tuning in everyone. I hope that left you feeling inspired to take a closer look at the everyday choices you’re making and how they could be impacting your health and even the planet. If you want to learn more about life’s fatal conveniences, head over to fatalconveniences.com. You can sign up for the exclusive access to Fatal Conveniences episodes, news, insights, and more. And all this great stuff gets sent each week straight to your inbox, making it really easy. Now, that’s a convenience without the negative side effects. It only takes a few seconds to join. Just fill in the form and take that amazing step towards making better choices. Remember, small changes can have big impact. So, keep diving my friends, keep diving. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the interview, I released earlier on the week, here’s what you missed:
Naveen: And they said cut down the spinach because your spinach has oxalic acid or oxalate that is not being digested, you’re going to end up with a kidney stone. And unfortunately, two years ago, I had a kidney stone. I’m thinking, how dumb of me to be eating spinach and not realizing what was going on. Now you can actually see what’s happening in your body. So when you do a Viome test, they tell you everything about it. So we tell you your immune health. We tell you your cellular health, we tell you you’ve got health, we tell you your mitochondrial health, and then we give you your biological age and then we tell you what to do about it. Then we say, here are the foods you should avoid and why. Here are the foods you should eat and why. And here are all the ingredients that your body is lacking in these dosages.
Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.