A startling new study has led us to believe that plastic tea bags may shed millions of micro and nano-sized particles into brewed beverages per cup. As per Canadian researchers at McGill University in Montreal, a single plastic teabag may release about 22.6 billion micro plastic and 3.1 billion nano particles into the water at the brewing temperature.
Paper Tea Bags the Answer
At an age where detecting and designing biodegradable alternatives to plastics is prevalent. This study has shed light upon a few brands that are yet dependent on plastics. We strongly presume that tea bags made from papers are ideal substitutes for mortifying plastics. However, small yet significant amount of plastic is used as a sealant in these paper tea bags. Thus, the subsequent increase in the presence of micro and nano-sized particles in the environment and food chains is of utmost concern.
Initially, to effectuate the investigation, the researchers purchased four different teas packaged in plastic bags. Following this, the tea bags were emptied, to ensure the particles came from the packaging and not the tea. Then the deflated tea bags were heated in containers of water to stimulate brewing conditions. Finally, an analysis was conducted using electron microscopy and Fourier- transform infrared spectroscopy.
The researchers concluded that the particles detected were “thousands of times higher than reported previously in other food”
Further to decipher the particle’s effect on the biotic population, the team treated water fleas, Daphnia msagna with increasing doses of micro and nano-sized particles. Even though the inhabitants survived, the researchers noticed that they flourished few anatomical and behavioral abnormalities.
In conclusion, further research is required to determine adverse affects on humans. These particles are most certainly going to end up in the food chain thereby, contaminating the environment. Our due responsibility to protect the environment would insist us to avoid plastic tea bags as it is just another form of plastic.