Can tea bags cause cancer? Here’s what experts say

Starting your morning with a fresh cup of tea might be a perfect start to the day. But, if you are someone who relies on tea bags for a hot cuppa, it’s time to stop. Did you know that your tea bag might just be causing you more harm than good?

A study by the researchers at McGill University in Montreal shows that a single plastic teabag can release harmful particles into your cup — 11.6 billion microplastics (fragments of any type of plastic less than 5 mm in length) and 3.1 billion nano plastics (extremely small pieces or particles of plastic).

Recently, nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary took to Instagram to share the effects of these harmful toxins released in the tea from the tea bags. “Tea bags release billions of micro and nano plastics into hot water. The nylon ones are the worst cause of polypropylene (a type of plastic),” she said.

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Dr Chowdhary added that the paper teas bags have “a chemical called epichlorohydrin, which is used so that the bag doesn’t break.” “Epichlorohydrin leaches into hot water, and is a potential carcinogen (a substance that can cause cancer) and reproductive toxin,” she informed. The nutritionist called it “scary” as many with hormonal issues use tea bags.

Agreeing, Dr Kiran Dalal, Dietician, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, said, “Mostly, tea bags have a kind of a coating of dioxin or epichlorohydrin or they are placed in chlorine. So when it is subjected to hot water, it may release that into the beverage and that may further cause harm in the human body.”

Explaining the effects of these toxins, Dr Dalal told, “It is potentially carcinogenic and contains loads of toxins that can cause certain kinds of cancers in the body.”

Experts suggested that one should prefer using powdered or loose tea leaves instead of tea bags. Dr Dalal added that one can use a cloth-based tea bag to keep all such problems at bay.

“Or you can learn to read the ingredients,” Dr Chowdhary added. Sharing her struggles, she said, “I’ve struggled with Endometriosis and the last thing I want is more plastic on a daily basis, multiple times in the day to trigger my hormones all over again.”

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