One of the first things I do when I am feeling under the weather is to make myself a cup of tea, but what you don’t expect when you pour that healing cup is that it is laced with harmful chemicals, especially when you’re under the impression of buying “organic tea brands.” Who would have thought that every time you make a tea you are really making yourself pesticide soup? Fortunately, there are pesticide free tea brands out there that offer up a healthier, earth-friendly option.
Interestingly, tea is the world’s most popular beverage. It’s astonishing the amount of tea that Canadians drink; it’s about 10 billion cups a year. Choosing a pesticide free tea should be important to everyone who drinks it. Canadians 16 and older drink 83 litres per person every year, a number that has been increasing. Even my toddler has Chamomile tea when he isn’t feeling well. Now I wonder how much of that tea is actually safe to drink? CBC Marketplace has found those answers for us.
Pesticide Free Tea Brands? Testing Teas for Pesticides
According to a report done by CBC Marketplace pesticides in some tea exceed the allowable limit. CBC had 10 different teas tested by an accredited lab, the lab used the same testing method as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Half of the teas tested contained pesticide residues above the allowable limits in Canada. As per the test results eight of the 10 brands tested contained multiple chemicals, with one brand containing residues of 22 different pesticides. (1)
But what actually is the allowable pesticide residue in tea? As per the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, it is 0.1ppm. (2)
Other Countries Are Banning These Ingredients
Two of the chemicals that they found are actually in the process of being banned in other countries.
One of the chemicals found was Endosulfan. This chemical is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market today. It is responsible for many fatal pesticide poisoning incidents around the world. Endosulfan is also a xenoestrogen—a synthetic substance that imitates or enhances the effect of estrogens—and it can act as an endocrine disruptor, causing reproductive and developmental damage in both animals and humans. (3)
The second chemical they found was Monocrotophos. It is acutely toxic to birds and humans. Being also a persistent organic pollutant, it has been banned in the U.S. and many other countries (4)
The top brands of tea that CBC Marketplace had tested
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – Green tea and Jasmine green tea
- No Name- Black tea
- King Cole- Orange pekoe
- Signal- Orange pekoe two cups
- Twinlings- Earl grey
- Lipton- Pure green tea and Yellow label black tea
- Red Rose – Orange pekoe
- Tetley- Pure green tea
Pesticide Free Teas
Out of all the teas that were tested, the only one that came back clean was the Red Rose Pekoe. (Here is the full test report from CBC marketplaces lab.)
Did you know that pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. Some of the Acute dangers – such as nerve, skin, and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and systemic poisoning – can sometimes be dramatic, and even occasionally fatal. (5)
Some of the symptoms of Mild Poisoning or Early Symptoms of Acute Poisoning are headache, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, restlessness, nervousness, perspiration, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of weight, thirst, moodiness, soreness in joints, skin irritation, eye irritation, irritation of the nose and throat. (6)
The good news is that there are still safe pesticide-free tea brands out there, and here are a few that I approve of.
Top 10 Pesticide Free Tea Brands
- Numi Organic Tea
- Stash Tea
- Tea Leaf Company
- Yogi Tea
- Traditional Medicinals
- Rishi Tea
- Choice Organic Tea
- Zhena’s Gypsy Tea
- Mighty Leaf
- Pukka Tea
Another great place to get amazingly healthy, pesticide-free tea is from Mountain Rose Herbs, which is definitely my go-to when it comes to organic tea brands.
How to Know if Your Tea Is Safe
- If you want to only drink organic tea brands, look for the certified organic label on the package so you know that your tea was cultivated without harmful chemicals. You can find information on Organic certification here http://www.pro-cert.org/en/
- You can grow your own herbs and make your own tea.
- Research the brands you plan on purchasing. The Environmental Working group has many teas and their ingredient and toxic levels listed. Also, they have a great App that you can use when out at a store shopping.
- Do be careful of buying tea that is grown in China or India, even if they state they are organic. Here is some information on the pesticide use in India, and here is some information on the pesticide use in China .
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