The study of a team from McGill University in Montreal has given some figures to the problem
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The use of microplastics in the food industry is increasingly widespread and also involves the tea and infusions industry.
As noted by a recent study by a team at McGill University in Montreal, their release during the infusion process is frequent to say the least. Before going into the details of this scientific work, it is good to remember that the use of plastic materials to seal tea bags and infusions is certainly not new.
For some years now, however, the producers have significantly increased the use of these materials, which raises many concerns both for the future of the planet and for the possible repercussions on consumer health.
The aforementioned study, the details of which were published in the pages of the American Chemical Society, Environmental Science & Technology magazine, provided a picture as precise as it was alarming about the problem.
The team that led it, coordinated by Dr. Laura M. Hernandez, analyzed four different types of tea, all packaged using nylon or other plastic materials. The individual sachets, immersed in a cup with water characterized by a temperature of 95 ° C, have released more than 11 billion microplastics (number concerning the single pack). The situation regarding nanoplastics is certainly not better. The experts who managed the research have in fact noticed that more than 3 billion are released per cup.
The results of this study also show that the loads of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate particles are decidedly higher than those found when analyzing other types of food. The scholars did not stop at the numbers, but they also carried out an initial assessment of acute toxicity on some invertebrates (the water fleas Daphnia Magna), discovering that exposure to the particles released by the tea bags is able to affect the behavior and development in a dose-dependent manner.
Even if there is still no certainty about the effects on human beings, this picture makes one think and leads to wonder what is best to do to protect oneself. In this regard, experts recommend buying tea and infusions packaged with paper filters. Even more useful for both the environment and health would be the purchase of these bulk products directly in herbal medicine.