Some of the news outlets are doing a good job of paying attention to the nuclear plant problems in Japan while perhaps the Western public’s interest has waned somewhat. One story about how green tea leaves in Japan were tested and found to have radioactivity levels above “safe” is actually tied somewhat to another green tea situation coming from China.
Chinadaily.com reported just over 5,000 cans of green tea powder were sealed due to their contamination by a chemical they called DEHP. One website said it disrupts hormone function in children, but China Daily said it can cause cancer. The United States Centers for Disease Control say this of DEHP, “The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that DEHP may reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The EPA has determined that DEHP is a probable human carcinogen. These determinations were based entirely on liver cancer in rats and mice.” The company that made the tea is Jiangmen Goody’s Food Co, Ltd, and they recalled just under 2,900 cans.
According to a company profile, it exports products all over the world, including to North America, South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Oceania, Mid East, Eastern Asia, and Western Europe.
In Japan, the level of radioactivity found in some of the tea leaves tested was very small, but enough to be of some concern. One tea shop owner there said, “Some elderly customers have told me that they didn’t mind any contamination because of their age, but wouldn’t let their grandchildren drink the same tea.” (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Most green tea is grown in China, and Japan. Other countries like India and Sri Lanka grow it too.
Image Credit: Alessandro Martini