Are tea bags safe? (What are microplastic particles)

In this article, we will answer the question “Are tea bags safe?” and will discuss microplastic particles.

Are tea bags safe?

Yes, tea bags are safe to use but it’s good to not use plastic tea bags regularly. To be safe, stay away from the hazardous tea bags made of silk or mesh. Paper tea bags, on the other hand, are a different kind of hazard. Many paper bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a chemical that is used to make epoxy resins and also works as a pesticide! Swap your packaged tea with loose tea to be even safer. Because tea bags appear to be a waste of paper at first.

The majority of them are also non-biodegradable. As previously stated, the chemicals employed in the tea business have an influence on the environment. The market for bagged tea is also a significant source of pollution. Tea packaging in tea bags, tea bags separately wrapped, paper, carton, and plastic blister packaging, in addition to wasting energy and resources, tends to concentrate profit in affluent nations.

When you buy loose-leaf tea, you are not only reducing waste and resource use, but you are also increasing the likelihood that a larger amount of the money you pay reaches the producers. In the tea industry, several firms utilize pesticides.

 According to research published by Greenpeace in 2015, 34 pesticides were discovered in Indian tea . If the tea hasn’t been cleaned, all of the pesticides will end up in your cup of tea. Some manufacturers add a lot of artificial ingredients to their tea bags, which improves the taste but reduces the health benefits. Tea bags, on the other hand, are quite simple to use. Make sure you’re doing yourself a favor by reading the ingredient list.

Microplastic particles

According to a new study from McGill University in Montreal, certain luxury tea bags emit billions of tiny plastic particles when steeped in hot water. According to a Wednesday McGill University press release, the peer-reviewed study found that when plastic tea bags were steeped in nearly boiling water, they released more than 10 billion microplastic and nano plastic particles into the water, a level “thousands of times higher than those previously reported in other foods.”

However, according to an industry expert, these types of tea bags make only a minuscule percentage of those used by tea consumers. According to Peter F. Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the United States of America Inc.,plastic tea bags are generally utilized for high-end specialty teas and account for roughly 5% of the tea bag market. According to Goggi, a substantial part of today’s plastic tea bags is composed of a biodegradable substance that was not examined in the study.

Three issues to be aware of with tea bags: 

·         paper tea bags sealed with a plastic glue that renders them non-recyclable or compostable 

·         plastic tea bags (the actual bag is made of plastic, not paper) that begin to break down when placed in hot water 

·         plastic leaking from tea bags into the cup and, in turn, into the drinker

After testing revealed that a single bag sheds billions of microplastic particles into each cup, tea consumers have been advised to stop using plastic tea bags.

A Canadian study discovered that steeping a plastic tea bag at 95°C releases about 11.6 billion microplastics, which are small particles of plastic ranging in size from 100 nanometers to 5 millimeters, into a single cup. Tufenkji and his team purchased four different tea bags from Montreal stores and cafés, cut them apart and cleaned them, steeped them in 95°C water, then analyzed the water using electron microscopy and spectroscopy.

To be sure it wasn’t the cutting that was causing the microplastics to leak, researchers used uncut tea bags as a control. Despite the fact that microplastics are becoming more common in drinking water, the World Health Organization claims there is no evidence that they pose a health danger to humans. Tufenkji and her colleagues introduced water fleas to polluted water to see if the particles produced by plastic tea bags were harmful. “The particles did not kill the water fleas, but they did have substantial behavioral and developmental effects,” she adds.

 She does, however, believe that additional study is needed to fully comprehend the potential health consequences in humans. Meanwhile, Tufenkji advises New Scientist readers to avoid using plastic tea bags. “Tea may be bought in paper tea bags or loose-leaf tea, obviating the requirement for single-use plastic packaging.” Long-term, organic loose tea is unquestionably the finest option. If you enjoy tea as much as I do and drink it frequently, it is the most cost-effective as well as the safest, toxin-free alternative.


In this article, we answered the question “Are tea bags safe?” and discussed microplastic particles.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.