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"Microplastics:Premium teabags leak billions of particles - study"

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by DokaGirl, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think this might be the study the news is based on: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.9b02540

    Part of the abstract:

    The composition of the released particles is matched to the original teabags (nylon and polyethylene terephthalate) using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The levels of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate particles released from the teabag packaging are several orders of magnitude higher than plastic loads previously reported in other foods. An initial acute invertebrate toxicity assessment shows that exposure to only the particles released from the teabags caused dose-dependent behavioral and developmental effects.
     
  3. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is so annoying that plastic is used in tea bags when it is so unnecessary.

    I try to buy plastic free brands, but it is not always obvious which are.
     
  4. Sisyphus

    Sisyphus Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Plastic tea bags? Using a new, non-digestible material to steep in boiling hot water and tannins, then consumed every morning, at least? Yeah, brilliant. Tea bags worked just fine for the 200 years before plastics.
     
  5. It's M.E. Linda

    It's M.E. Linda Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’ll try not to advertise, but I moved from a tasty supermarket’s own brand Red Label to more expensive, fair trade, non plastic (I think/hope/composter looks better) tea bag about 2 years ago.

    I was appalled that they downgraded to Fairly Traded instead of Fair Trade (ok I do realise I am lucky enough to afford this) but only then, did I find out about the use of plastics and why I had strange skeleton teabags in the compost bin.
     
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  6. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Were there really tea bags that long ago? I don't remember them from my childhood 60 years ago. It was always loose leaf tea and teapots.

    I've checked - there were teabags - made from fabric, first patented in 1903. Paper and plastic came in later.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_bag
     
  7. Sisyphus

    Sisyphus Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Huh. Here in the USA I remember tea bags from single digit age as the ‘regular’ stuff, and discovered loose tea years later as the ‘fancy snooty stuff’ which actually costs less and tastes better.
     
  8. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So...if I up the tea consumption then when I die I can just be put in the plastics recycling bin and therefore make massive savings on burial costs?
     
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  9. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Good job I don't buy premium teabags then, isn't it. :) Although, as @Peter Trewhitt said above, there is no obvious way of knowing which brands are free of plastic.

    Having done some checking online, I think my cheap teabags contain plastic after all. *Sigh*
     
  10. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  11. oldtimer

    oldtimer Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well that does it! All I needed was a good enough reason to use my lovely teapot.

    A few weeks ago, in a fit of minimalizing, I was about to throw out dozens of beautiful, 80 to 150 year old, hand made, hand-embroidered and lacey handkerchiefs handed down from my great grandmother through the generations. At the last minute I couldn't do it so I'm now using them. No more tissues:)

    There was an article in the local paper recently about a family that is going green in a brown kind of way. They no longer use toilet paper; instead they use towels. My imagination won't even go there. Maybe one day it will have to:walkingdead:wtf:
     
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  12. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm imagining all the chemicals and energy used to wash them... Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
     
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  13. erin

    erin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So simple to make leaf tea. It tastes much better.
     
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  14. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Back in the 1990s my husband and I went on holiday to one of the islands in the Dodecanese. We went with a tour company and they supplied a holiday rep who was English and had been doing his job for several years and was very good at it.

    He told us on our first day about the well-known problem of Greek sewers and drains being extremely narrow (thanks to the British, who designed the system just after World War 2 apparently). As a result no paper is allowed down the toilet and it has to go in a bin next to the toilet. The toilet paper is then bagged up and put into one of the communal bins that are dotted around all Greek villages and towns.

    The communal bins are emptied frequently and taken to various landfill sites which are also dotted around the Greek islands. Then the goats come along and eat the rubbish including the bags of toilet paper.

    The holiday rep ended his description of the process by telling us that eventually the goats would be slaughtered and would end up on our dinner plates at the local tavernas, and this was right and proper because it is all part of the circle of life. :yuck: :D
     
  15. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So what you're saying is don't eat dishes made from goat in Greece?
     
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  16. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I must admit I did eat goat occasionally. If the Greeks, who mostly look healthy and energetic, can cope with it I assumed I could too. :D
     
  17. oldtimer

    oldtimer Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Off the topic of nano particles still: I agree that anything involving chemicals is not a great idea at all. My first thought was a memory of my mother, red-faced, hot and sweaty, and very grumpy, stirring the boiling copper in our outside laundry. The sheets and towels were boiled to kill germs and to keep them white I believe, so I imagined this family living in the bush and reverting to these old fashioned ways. Boiling the towels once a week, in their case most likely using a bit of timber for fuel, probably wouldn't be so bad for the environment and could most likely more than offset the production, packaging and transport of toilet paper.

    Coincidentally, I came across this informative article in The Guardian this morning. "Wee wipes" make environmental sense and I'm sure they will start to take off as the idea spreads.
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...toilet-towels-can-we-get-over-the-yuck-factor
     
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  18. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Or we could move to bidet style toilets (using clean electric energy):

    https://www.victorianplumbing.co.uk/metro-smart-toilet-with-bidet-wash-function-heated-seat-dryer

    In my mind, somewhat more suited to PWME!
     
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  19. SNT Gatchaman

    SNT Gatchaman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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