(CNN) They’re in our oceans, soil, air, snow — and even in your cup of tea.
Plastic tea bags are shedding billions of shards of microplastics into their water, according to a new study.
Researchers at McGill University in Canada analyzed the effects of placing four different commercial tea bags into boiling water.
They found that a single bag releases around 11.6 billion microplastic particles, and 3.1 billion even smaller nanoplastic particles, into the cup — thousands of times higher than the amount of plastic previously found in other food and drink.
The health effects of drinking these particles are unknown, according to the researchers, who called for further study into the area.
Microplastics in drinking water ‘don’t appear to pose health risk,’ WHO says
[Raise you hand if you believe the WHO when they say that microplastics in drinking water are not a health risk. – Editor]
The team removed the tea from inside the bags to prevent it from interfering with the results, before boiling the bags in water to simulate the tea-making process.
Scientists have found microplastics in various foods … Read more.
Billions of ‘Microplastics’ in Each Plastic Teabag – WebMD
Sep 25, 2019
HealthDay/WebMD – The global proliferation of microplastics — bits of plastic so small they are often invisible to the naked eye — have made headlines recently, having been found in large numbers in ocean and tap water, seafood and even human poop.
“In the past few years, there has been a steadily increasing body of scientific literature demonstrating that not only are microplastics permeating the broader environment, they are entering our bodies, as well,” noted Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. He wasn’t involved in the new research.
Spaeth stressed that there’s just too little data on whether or not microplastics pose a threat to human health.
However, “based on the molecular composition of microplastics, there is reason to have real concern about the potential health effects,” he said, “since they contain a variety of components known to harm human health — including hormone-disrupting chemicals, as well as human carcinogens.”
In the new study, the Montreal team noted that the heat of brewed tea can cause plastic tea bags to break down into bits of plastic that are thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. That means you can’t see, taste or feel them in your mouth. Read more.