An average of 51 percent of Americans are drinking tea every day but what else is steeping in those cups? Testing by CBC Marketplace and CBC’s French investigative consumer show L’Epicerie reveals that some teas on the market contain levels of pesticides that exceed American standards.
Tea is the world’s most popular beverage, often touted for its healthful properties.
Pesticides in Tea
There was an investigation on the pesticide levels of most major tea-producing companies some of them are: Lipton (Pure Green Tea and Yellow Label Black Tea), Tetley, Twinings, Red Rose, No Name, Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (Green Tea and Jasmine Green Tea), King Cole, Signal …
One investigation conducted on teas, found out that 8 of 10 teas tested had residues that were above the legally acceptable limit, containing 22 different types of pesticides. Some of the found pesticides are endosulfan and monocrotophos, which are currently in a process of being banned by several countries due to the health risks it poses to workers that handle it and the negative impact that it has on the environment.
Best and Worst Brands
Even though most of the tea brands contain a whopping amount of pesticides, the amount of pesticides of other brands is below the legal limits. It would be the best if there we zero pesticides, but since that is not possible here is a list of the worst offenders so you will be sure to steer clear of these brands no matter how bad you want to drink tea:
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China (Green Tea)-contains more than 20 different types of pesticides, including endosulfan. Endosulfan is currently in a process of being banned from many different countries due to its health and environment effects. It can cause tremors and other effects on the nervous system, in some cases even resulted in death.
- No Name –contains more than 10 different types of pesticides.
- King Cole. Has wider variety of pesticides, including the monocrotophos, which is known to cause involuntary defecation, irregular heartbeat and has also been known to induce comas
The tea industry has not stayed quiet during this fuss. James O’ Young, vice president of Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, which also happens to be the brand which contained the most pesticides, defended his tea’s pesticide content by claiming all tea contains pesticides.
“If you drink tea, regular tea, I don’t care it’s what brand is that the fact of life, this agricultural product does have pesticides,” O’Young said.
O’Young made this statement ignoring the fact that CBC’s investigation found that, out of the 10 different tea brands tested, Red Rose was the only product that came back completely free of pesticides. This proves that not only is it possible to cultivate tea without having pesticide residue on it, but that representatives from big corporations are blatantly lying to us about it.
Support pesticide-free tea companies by avoiding brands that you know are heavy in pesticides, such as Uncle Lee’s and No Name Brands, and purchase only from brands that you know contain little to no pesticides.
For a full list of the different tea brands tested during CBC’s investigation, click here.