Non toxic teas list?
So I have recently learned that a huge amount of teas contain higher than acceptabtle levels of lead and other toxins. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821942/
Quoted from the above linked study “100% of all teas had more than the acceptable limit of lead.”
Does anyone have a list of teas that are lead free and either free or at very low, healthy levels of other toxins and pesticides? Ideally teas that are tested by their own company and a third party as well and where the company can be bothered to give this information?
Yunnan sourcing and Teavivre do their own testing. And post the results on their websites.
Thank you! Do you know of any brands that I might find at Whole Foods or similar places that meet said criteria?
I know they sell Rishi at Whole Foods. Numi is another quality brand you can find in stores that’s all organic.
Thanks! I’ll email those companies and ask them if they test for lead, pesticides etc on the tea types I am looking for specifically
I’m concerned about pesticides in tea as well and try seek out vendors who source responsibly farmed tea.
As Ken mentioned, YS and Teavivre are two vendors that test for pesticides. Others who supply tea grown with low or no pesticides are: Verdant Tea, Taiwan Tea Crafts, Rishi, Yuuki-Cha, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, and Yunomi.
I have never heard of a tea being tested for lead.
The study I posted and what I am concerned about is what ends up in the infusion that comes from the tea leaves, not the bags.
I’ve investigfated this before opening my tea shop and I don’t think such a comprehensive list exists, as there are so many tea companies out there. Info on large companies may be there, but the sellers I’ve contacted explained to me that they have so many teas that they can only afford to test them at randowm (tea testings costs a huge amount, so I’d suggest smaller suppliers who have a smaller volume of teas and can actually test them all.
Also, I would suggest checking whether the seller is openly stating whether their teas are tested and especially if they are providing evidence of testing certificates form labs.
And lastly, you can choose a supplier whose tea you like and email them directly to ask what they do about the testing of their teas for pesticides and contaminants – this is what I did and I got a very good response form UK suppliers, even on methods used, labs used, frequency of testing etc.
Incidentally, I actually wrote a blog post on this earlier which is relevant if you’re interested! https://www.eastcottandburgess.co.uk/single-post/2017/02/27/Do-Teas-Contain-Pesticides
Hope this helps! :)
if you eat fish, i would be more concerned with your heavy metal intake that way than with tea. 0.02
lead still exists in tea regardless if there are higher levels in fish. its not either or…lead should be avoided from any possible source.
If you eat fish AND drink tea, the increased levels of potential lead consumption are worth considering and paying attention to since its cumulative. Children drink tea too. Important to know what you’re giving your children.
Alton brown did a guide on this for tuna. If you are over 40, dont worry about it.
That being said, teabags are much much MUCH lower quality tea than most loose leaf tea.
Get your tea from good sources, mentioned above and you are golden.
It would be lovely if it were that is easy, Ken, with good quality teas, but it isn’t sadly. We’ve bought an amazing quality Anji Bai Cha from an Anji tea garden in China, after a 5 year quest to find a genuinely good quality Anji Bai Cha, as this is one of my favourite teas.
We had then tested our teas in a lab twice (to account for errors), as we do with all our teas (since we don’t have many, this makes it easier for us), to ensure the Minimum Residue Levels for chemicals such as pesticides, were within EU limits i.e. were ‘safe’ to drink. All our teas came back with MRL close to 0 (far below EU limits), but te Anji Bai Cha, tragically, had 6 times the amount of a pesticide that’s bio-accumulative and fat-soluble (means it’s not only toxic, but it never leaves the body!) – how scary is that?! I never drink tea or allow any one I come across to drink untested tea.
Not all tea companies test their tea because it is SO expensive to do it properly, but expensive or quality tea doesn’t mean tested tea sadly.
Wow, I had no idea lead was an issue in tea to the point that 83% tested yielded lead levels over the safety limit. Interesting study. I wish Taiwan had been included.
That article seems….not good, but besides that it’s conclusions are that the teas tested (bagged supermarket teas) are above the recommended daily limits for pregnant women and lactating mothers (only because of the baby). That means it’s well below daily limits of adults.
Lead is a very common substance so “lead free” probably isn’t possible. The paper even subtracts lead found in the water and teacup.
I wouldn’t criticize the study because they controlled for lead leaching out of the teacup, sounds like proper science to me.
Its well known that cheap tea wares and pottery have extractable lead in the glaze.
You know, I sometimes wonder about the Tea ware we use for gongfu cha. Most of it comes from China. Who knows what materials are in the glaze.
Clay teapots are a potential hazard since they are porous and the clay may possibly be contaminated with heavy metals. One of the reasons I bought Taiwanese made clay pots instead of authentic Yixing – aside from price – is the clay is tested for lead and other toxins.
@andrestino I wasn’t criticizing the study for controlling the lead I was just using that as an example that lead is common enough that “lead free” isn’t possible.
The study specifically states that the lead levels were over the daily limits for adults as well. “The allowable limit for lead ingestion for adults is 15 μgm daily. All brewed teas had detectable levels of lead above that”
Bagged teas are by far the worst, its not just that they have high levels of lead, but because of the way the bags are made. The fannings and dust steeped for long periods of time 3-5 minutes as opposed to 30-45 seconds for full leaf gong fu, you pull out all the contaminants.
@zap 15ug/L is the EPA allowable limit for lead in drinking water so that can’t be the ADL. In Table 2 it lists 15ug/day as the limit set by California law (the most stringent law) for nutritional supplements. Table 3 shows that the highest level of lead during the longer steeping times is 4.9ug/L. If you continue reading the paragraph you quoted it goes on to say that “Chinese oolong teas had the higest levels of lead and although this is below the acceptable standard of 15ug/day are best avoided.” It makes the case that drinking multiple cups of long steeped tea especially mixed with herbal supplements with high lead might put you over what’s acceptable for drinking water.
Although I can’t say I blame you for thinking that. This article is sort of a poorly worded mess. :(
Mei Leaf just did an excellent video about pesticides and heavy metals in tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HcC3pBqWBM&t=504s
I do really love Mei Leaf’s video – it’s very re-assuring, but I’m a little concerned he doesn’t give any scientific evidence for hat he is saying e.g. there are less heavy metals in the mountains etc – I’m looking at scientific studies now and altitude doesn’t seem to guarantee less heavy metals, it all depends on atmospheric transport, which is much more complex than that.
Will keep researching, but if anyone has any more scientific evidence, please share!