True Cellular Formulas Team - April 01, 2024

Teabag Trouble

Unveiling Potential Risks


Tea, an elixir steeped in tradition and savored across cultures, holds the reputation of being a healthful beverage, laden with antioxidants. Yet, beneath the serene surface of this globally cherished drink lurks a less known, potentially harmful aspect: the traditional teabag. While many of us find solace in the ritual of brewing a comforting cup, it's imperative to question what else we're steeping in our teapots. This exploration sheds light on the hidden health risks lurking in traditional teabags, aiming to arm readers with knowledge and healthier alternatives.

The Surprising Truth About Traditional Teabags

The journey of tea from leaf to cup seems straightforward, but the devil is in the details—or in this case, in the teabag. Traditional teabags, the convenient choice for many, may harbor more than just tea leaves. The process of packaging these leaves involves materials and chemicals that introduce unwanted substances into our brew. As we delve into the constituents of these teabags, the revelation of their contents might just sour your taste for them.

Unveiling the Toxins in Your Tea

Nanoplastics and Microplastics

In recent years, the issue of plastics polluting our environment has garnered significant attention. However, the presence of nanoplastics and microplastics in our tea, courtesy of traditional teabags, is a lesser-known concern.[1] These tiny particles, invisible to the naked eye, shed from the teabag into the tea during the brewing process. Studies suggest that consuming these plastics over time could pose health risks, including carcinogenic effects and hormone disruption.[2,3] The idea of drinking plastic with your tea is unsettling, to say the least.


The pristine white of some teabags is not a natural occurrence. To achieve this aesthetic, some manufacturers treat teabags with bleach. The residue of these bleaching agents, when steeped in hot water, finds its way into your tea and, consequently, your body. Ingesting these chemicals over time could potentially increase the risk of developing certain cancers, making the choice of teabag a matter of health concern.[4]


Another chemical commonly used in the production of teabags is epichlorohydrin, employed to make the paper teabag strong and resistant to breaking when wet. While the strength of your teabag might not be in question, your health could be at risk. Epichlorohydrin is recognized for its potential carcinogenic properties and its ability to disrupt the immune system.[5] The thought of a chemical designed to ward off water also warding off your health is a bitter pill to swallow.

Health Impact of Long-Term Exposure

The cumulative effect of daily doses of these toxins, though minute per cup, can be significant over time. The long-term health implications of ingesting nanoplastics, bleach residues, and epichlorohydrin through tea are not fully understood, but the potential risks highlight the need for caution and awareness among consumers. The reality that these substances could contribute to serious health issues underlines the importance of reevaluating our tea-drinking habits.

In the next section, we'll explore how to mitigate these risks and enjoy your tea safely, highlighting alternatives to traditional teabags and offering tips for reducing toxin exposure. Stay tuned to transform your tea ritual into one that's not just soothing, but also safe.

Alternatives to Traditional Teabags

One of the simplest ways to avoid the risks associated with traditional teabags is to switch to loose-leaf tea. Not only does this option reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, but it also offers a richer, more authentic tea flavor. For those who cherish the convenience of teabags, there are now options made from biodegradable materials or organic teabags that forgo the use of harmful chemicals in their production. These alternatives ensure that your cup of tea remains a source of solace, not toxins.

Tips for Reducing Toxin Exposure in Tea

  • Research and Choose Wisely: Look for brands committed to sustainability and health, often detailed on their packaging or websites. Certifications like organic or fair trade can be good indicators of safer practices.
  • Opt for Transparency: Companies that disclose their manufacturing processes are often the ones that have nothing to hide. Seek out brands that are open about their teabag materials and avoid those that use plastics or harmful chemicals.
  • Heat Matters: When using any teabag, avoid pouring boiling water directly onto it. Some studies suggest that cooler water can reduce the leaching of harmful substances. Let the water cool for a few minutes after boiling before brewing your tea.
  • Consider the Packaging: Even if the teabag is safe, the packaging might not be. Tea packed in plastic pouches or wrapped in plastic might still pose a risk of plastic contamination. Opt for teas packaged in paper or other natural materials.


The ritual of brewing and savoring a cup of tea is a cherished routine for many. However, the revelation that traditional teabags may carry hidden health risks serves as a reminder of the importance of being an informed consumer. By choosing safer alternatives and adopting practices that reduce exposure to these toxins, we can continue to enjoy our tea without compromising our health. Let's embrace these changes not just for the benefit of our well-being, but also for the environment. As we become more conscious of our choices, we pave the way for a healthier future, one cup of tea at a time.

In embracing these mindful practices, the act of drinking tea can remain a healthful pleasure, free from the shadow of hidden toxins. The journey toward safer tea consumption begins with awareness and is sustained by the choices we make every day. So, the next time you reach for a comforting cup, remember that the power to choose health is in your hands.

  1. Hernandez LM, Xu EG, Larsson HCE, Tahara R, Maisuria VB, Tufenkji N. Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea. Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Nov 5;53(21):12300-12310. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02540. Epub 2019 Sep 25. PMID: 31552738.
  2. Ullah, Sana et al. “A review of the endocrine disrupting effects of micro and nano plastic and their associated chemicals in mammals.” Frontiers in endocrinology vol. 13 1084236. 16 Jan. 2023, doi:10.3389/fendo.2022.1084236
  3. Li, Shelley et al. “Could Microplastics Be a Driver for Early Onset Colorectal Cancer?.” Cancers vol. 15,13 3323. 24 Jun. 2023, doi:10.3390/cancers15133323
  4. Schwalfenberg, G., Genuis, S. J., & Rodushkin, I. (2013). The Benefits and Risks of Consuming Brewed Tea: Beware of Toxic Element Contamination. Journal of Toxicology, 2013, 370460.
  5. National Toxicology Program. 15th Report on Carcinogens [Internet]. Research Triangle Park (NC): National Toxicology Program; 2021 Dec 21. Epichlorohydrin: CAS No. 106-89-8. Available from:

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