As reported by us back in October heavy metal contamination in tea is becoming a concern, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
In a paper published in the Journal of Toxicology Canadian researchers tested a number of off the shelf tea bags, including black, oolong, green and white tea. They then tested the tea leaves themselves and tea after 3-4 and 15-17 minutes steeping.
They found that 73% of the teas had higher than recommended levels of lead after steeping for 3-4 minutes and this rose to 83% when steeped for 15 minutes. It’s not all doom and gloom though, they did not detect any mercury in the tea when steeped for 5 or 15 minutes.
The authors recommend routine testing to protect consumers.
The paper is freely available from the Journal of Toxicology website.