Tea bags are paper–cheap, simple, harmless paper–except when they’re not. Today many packaged tea sellers have moved to plastic bags, which are often marketed as “silky” bags because, well, it sounds better. But they’re made of plastic or nylon, materials that bring with them certain health concerns. We’ve read about particles from plastic water bottles being toxic. When she heard about plastic being used in tea bags, The Atlantic writer Taylor Orci decided to see if those tea bags are be dangerous, too. The results of her research aren’t encouraging.
Orci learned that plastic tea bags are most commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate or food grade nylon. Phthalates are materials widely used in the plastic industry–they’re also the materials in plastic bottles linked to health issues like infertility and hormone disruption. She discovered that, unsurprisingly, these plastics and nylons have melting points far above boiling water’s 212 degrees. Tea drinkers don’t have to worry about plastic bags melting and poisoning them. But that’s not the only issue.
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