Another reason not to drink cheap tea (re: fluoride)

The store brand “value” blends average 6 mg fluoride per liter (the maximum recommended intake is 4 mg per day), while the national brands (Twinings, PG Tips, etc) averaged 3.3 mg per liter. The oolong and pu’er teas they tested registered a mere 0.7 mg/l.

So if you drink 4 cups a day of the super-cheap stuff, you’re very likely consuming excess fluoride, which could lead to bone & joint issues later in life. Other supermarket blacks & greens aren’t much better, it seems. They apparently didn’t test any higher-quality specimens, but I’d assume they’d be relatively low, due to the more intact leaf structure and the fact that they’d generally be younger leaves (fluoride accumulation is higher in the more mature leaves).

The article reminded me of this story:

1 Reply
Lala said

This is interesting. After I read about the 100 tea bag iced tea a day story I was like this is ridiculous. But it may not be as ridiculous as it sounds.

First off, the article reports an average tea drinker to drink 4 cups(1 liter) per day, which I would hazard to guess is on the very low end for some of us on steepster (for me it is anyway – just at work I will drink between three to four 16-20oz travel mugs of tea a day).

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary intake for fluoride:


0 – 6 months: 0.01 milligrams per day (mg/day)
7 – 12 months: 0.5 mg/day

1 – 3 years: 0.7 mg/day
4 – 8 years: 1.0 mg/day
9 – 13 years: 2.0 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults

Males ages 14 to 18 years: 3.0 mg/day
Males over 18 years: 4.0 mg/day
Females over 14 years: 3.0 mg/day

So depending on the type of tea being drank, it may be very easy to be right on the verge of the max fluoride intake per day. And this doesn’t include things like fluoride from water, foods, toothpaste, etc.

Like adagio breeze said above, I would be interested to see how “higher quality” teas and tea leaves compare.

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