There are those who would say that the easiest way to sidestep any potential dangers with tea bags is not to use them at all. Which might be a valid point and one that I can agree with, to some extent, given the tea bag’s reputation for turning out somewhat lackluster tea. But not so fast.
As it turns out the news that inspired this article has to do with the “good” tea bags, if there can be said to be such a thing. It came from that august publication known as The Atlantic and was titled Are Tea Bags Turning Us Into Plastic?
If you follow the latest developments in tea bag technology, then you’ll probably know that in recent times the increased interest in “good” tea has led to some improvements in tea bags, specifically those of a type that are designed to be more spacious, which allows tea leaves more room to breathe during the steeping process and should improve the flavor of the tea.
The problem with this – if there is a problem – has to do with the plastic many of these bags are made of. The writer of the aforementioned article notes that this may contribute negatively to the problem of landfill waste and then turns to concerns about health.
As the author notes, these bags, which “are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)” have a high melting point and would be considered relatively safe with regard to their potential for leaching harmful compounds into tea. He/she (Taylor?) goes on and takes a relatively in-depth look at the pro and cons of plastic tea bags but ultimately does not come to any real conclusion.
Which leads me to conclude, as I always have, that my poison of choice will be tea made from loose leaves (and steeped in one of those plastic gravity-fed gizmos). But if I were a fan of plastic tea bags I probably wouldn’t give them up out of any concerns over health just yet. But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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