Is Your Favorite Tea Contaminated with Toxic Chemicals?

Is there anything better than a hot cuppa on a chilly winter morning? Tea is the most popular beverage in the world—besides water, of course—and for good reason. It’s loaded with some impressive benefits—like antioxidants and stress-busting compounds that support metabolism and boost immunity. But your favorite tea may not be as clean and healthful as it seems. Here are contaminants that you should watch out for when you’re buying tea.


You buy organic food, but have you ever really given your tea a second thought? Unfortunately, the vast majority of teas contain pesticide residue, which is pretty gross. No one really wants to steep potentially harmful chemicals in their morning brew.

Even more worrisome: in 2014 the FDA released a report that found unacceptable pesticide levels in 57 percent of teas tested—yikes. Wondering why pesticide residue is such a problem in teas? Most tea doesn’t grow in the US (although that is changing), making it much tougher to regulate the amount of pesticides farmers spray on these crops.

While occasional exposure to pesticide residue isn’t going to harm you all that much, if you’re drinking contaminated tea every single day, all those chemicals could become problematic down the line. Buying organic tea is crucial, unless you’ve been to the tea plantation and seen their clean practices for yourself. Don’t be afraid to do your own research and buy from brands you really trust.

Pouring Black Tea into Cup

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals—like aluminum, cadmium, arsenic and even lead—are commonly found in certain teas. In fact, according to research, 73 percent of brewed teas tested were contaminated with lead, which isn’t great for anybody.

That’s with a four minute brew time. Unfortunately, the longer you steep your tea, the higher the heavy metal count. When too many heavy metals accumulate in the soft tissues of the body, they can do some serious damage.

Where are all these heavy metals coming from, anyway? The soil where the tea grows. Heavy metals accumulate in soil thanks to industrial development, waste runoff, animal agriculture and pesticide use. It’s a growing global problem, and our teas and other crops are definitely being affected.

Buying organic and biodynamic teas can help, but also make sure you aren’t over-steeping your teas.


You know those fancy tea bags that look like silk? Well, they’re anything but. They are actually made out of plastic—generally polypropylene or PET. The problem is, plastics and hot water aren’t a good combination. Even if the bags are BPA-free, it’s still likely that they are leaching other endocrine-disrupting chemicals into your brew. Do yourself a favor and get a reusable tea infuser and buy exclusively loose leaf teas.

Tea is definitely a healthful beverage, but it’s important to keep your wits about you. Be conscious of what teas you’re drinking and where they’re coming from. If you drink tea every day, the quality of your tea can have a tremendous impact on your long-term health.


Gino C
Gino C1 months ago

thank you

Hannah A
Hannah A3 months ago

Thanks very much

Sophie A
Past Member 3 months ago

many thanks

Maria P
Mia P4 months ago

thanks for sharing

berny p
berny p4 months ago

Poisonous food should be illegal and banned.
That is why there is a lobby about labeling food.....

Ben O
Ben O4 months ago

No, it's not. My organic Earl Grey tea is just fine!

Graham P
Graham P4 months ago

Just when you thought it was safe to get out of bed!!!

Barbara S
Barbara S4 months ago

Thank you

Leo C
Leo Custer4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Leo C
Leo Custer4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!