Tea is good for you. Tea is relaxing. Tea is healthy.
But could your tea be poisoning you?
If it's not organic, the chances are yes.
What happens to pesticides that are banned in the United States for being "too toxic?" Upstanding companies like Monsanto simply stop making them, right?
"There are many cases where highly hazardous pesticides, which are not permitted for use in industrialized countries, are exported to developing countries. For a pesticide to be banned, it has to be registered first. Some pesticide companies have not registered or re-registered products which they knew would have not have been authorized in their own country but continue to produce and export the same products to developing countries. There are also cases of pesticide manufacturers increasing exports of products that have been banned or restricted in their own countries, possibly in order to use up existing stocks or to compensate for depleted local markets. Pesticide companies have also been able to circumvent bans on specific products by building formulation plants for the product in developing countries. They then supply the technical grade active ingredients needed to make the pesticide and claim that the product itself is locally manufactured. The argument is put forward that developing countries are demanding these hazardous pesticides because less toxic products are often too expensive."
"According to U.S. Customs records, between 2001-2003, the U.S. exported nearly 1.7 billion pounds of pesticide products - 32 tons per hour. A study by Carl Smith of the Foundation for Advancement in Science and Education, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, notes that these exports included "27 million pounds of pesticides whose use is forbidden in the U.S.," including "500,000 pounds of known or suspected carcinogens." Endocrine disrupting pesticides were sent overseas at the rate of 100 tons a day. Most of the exports - including shipments of deadly persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - were destined for developing countries."
Then these countries grow & produce food and other edible goods such as tea and import them right back to the USA. In fact the majority of tea is grown & produced in these same third world countries (India, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan and Japan).
Starting to see the problem?
By practice, most tea is not washed before it is put it into those little tiny tea bags, which means the first time any pesticides get a shot of being washed off is in your tea cup.
Did you know that decaf tea contains formaldehyde? "Many health-conscious people insist on "decaf." But knowledgeable gardeners will tell you not to pour decaffeinated coffee or tea onto your plants and not to use decaffeinated grounds or tea bags. Why? Because the decaffeination process uses formaldehyde, and there's a residual in the resulting beverage."
And briefly mentioned on a recent episode of the A Healthy You & Carol Alt show (sorry folks, no video clip available), formaldehyde has also been linked to processing of green tea. Hopefully, no harm is coming from this minimal amount or we'd be hearing about it a lot more (I would hope), but do you really want to drink any amount of formaldehyde? I'll save that cocktail for when I'm dead.
The good news is that you don't have to give up your beloved tea, just go organic.
"Certified organic tea is free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides." Strict guidelines and testing enforced by the USDA guarantees this. "The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used." (Um what the hell is the USDA allowing in conventionally grown food?!?!)
And think twice before ordering tea in a restaurant, chances are, it's not organic and you'll be paying for a big cup of cancer-causing pesticides. Best to bring your own.
Just one more reason to support organic...