Next to water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world, which is generally a good thing: Besides being tasty and soothing—or energizing, depending on what you’re going for—a seemingly endless body of research has linked it with a huge number of mental and physical health benefits. Most recently, for example, studies have shown that tea is associated with a lower risk ofdepression, ovarian cancer, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Given its array of perks, it would seem that the more tea you drink, the better, but new research sheds light on serious risks that may come with sipping certain varieties. Tea can contain or absorb various toxic compounds, depending on lots of things–including its soil, environment, and harvesting, storage and brewing methods. A number of studies have found excessive levels of toxic elements in many different types. Check out the potential dangers below, and learn how to minimize or avoid them–and still have your cup of tea!
KNOW THE POTENTIAL RISKS
Heavy Metals: In a 2013 study from the Journal of Toxicology, researchers tested 30 teas and found that all had high amounts of lead—which can cause heart, kidney and reproductive problems. Around 73% of teas brewed for three minutes, and 83% percent of those brewed for 15 minutes, had potentially unsafe amounts, and 20 percent of teas brewed for 15 minutes contained unsafe aluminum levels. A 2015 study discovered that teas with added citric acid had elevated aluminum, cadmium and lead, and lemon tea bags produced levels 10 to 70 times higher.