Plastic tea bags throw billions of pieces of microplastics into their water, according to a new study.
Researchers at McGill University in Canada analyze the effects of placing four different commercial tea bags in boiling water.
found that one bag releases about 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion even smaller nanoplastic particles into the cup – thousands of times larger than the amount of plastic previously found in other foods and beverages.
the team removed the tea from the bags so as not to interfere with the results before boiling the bags in water to simulate the process of making tea.
Scientists have found microplastics in a variety of foods, but fewer studies have been done on whether they can be thrown into water while brewing tea and other hot drinks.
Many tea manufacturers use polypropylene to seal their bags.
"We urgently need to know more about the health effects of microplastics, because they are everywhere – including in our drinking water," says Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of WHO health.