Fancy Tea Bag? You May Be Drinking More than Just Tea…

plastic tea bag pyramid

Well isn’t this lovely. If you’ve been paying extra for those fancy pyramid shaped tea-bags, you may have been getting more than you bargained for. Tea lover and Atlantic columnist Taylor Orci describes her surprise when she realized a potential carcinogen was being leached into her hot water.

The “infuser” as it is called is made of very safe PET plastic. The plastic is resistant to high temperature and will not melt in boiling water. However, plastic has a molecular properties that change when it reaches its “glass transition temperature”. And you guessed it, when inserted into boiling water, the plastic bag reaches this temp.

As a result, carcinogens known as phthalates may be leached from the bag along with the tea flavor. It’s a rather simple test to see if toxic levels are leached into a cup of tea, but it seems that so far no government agency or tea company has bothered to check…


  • Jensen_G

    If it’s very simple to check, it stands to reason that someone, somewhere has tested their tea water. And the results?

  • gldnbuffs

    What about k cups?

    • S

      I’ve often wondered about that. My guess is, it can’t be good.

    • Eric Andrist

      All the k cups I’ve seen have paper liners.

  • Max_Freedom

    You aren’t supposed to boil water for tea.

    • RealBebopMusic

      Thats not the point. Who knows the exact temperature at which the poison is released?

      • Max_Freedom

        That makes sense. I won’t buy these tea bags. It says in the article that it happens when inserted in boiling water. I know there’s a lot of controversy about plastics and extreme temps, freezing or boiling.

        • RealBebopMusic

          I hear you. I’m to the point that I’ve swiched to glass food storage bowls. I won’t use plastic to stir food while cooking either. And its not like I’m boiling my food. So scary trying to protect yourself from unseen threats…

  • Cake Lover

    What about those boil n bags for rice?. I sure hope there safe.

  • me

    Unsafe levels of pesticides in their tea… It’s hard to be safe!

  • Marina

    Lipton, fancy teabags? Pfft.

  • Cori

    Good Gawd, what about the bags that feel like silk? I had a cup today of Starbux blend thinking how lovely the bag is…:(

  • Loquis

    This is an urban myth. Terephthalates are not the same as Orthophthalates, which are the toxic plastic softeners. PET plastic does NOT leak phthalates. Please put more research into articles you post with scientific context. A lot of your recent articles contain incorrect information.

  • stine 130

    Buy louse tea…no worries

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  • benjamincgessel

    Well, I don’t drink herbal tea much anyway. Its actually been a long while since I’ve had herbal tea. If I do, I start with fairly hot water (definitely not boiling), then steep the tea bag in the cup directly, let it sit in there for 5-10 minutes. Its pretty strong flavored that way, but I like herbal tea to be very strong flavored, not watery… I might reuse the tea bag 1-2 more times, but not always.

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