What’s In Your Mug? The Toxic Truth About Tea

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We hear about it all the time; tea is loaded with anti-oxidants and cancer fighting benefits. “Drinking just one cup of tea daily can reduce your chance of bla bla bla by 50 %..”. While many of these benefits may be true, there is also information that is often overlooked which reveals some toxic facts about the common tea brands. Do the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to drinking tea? When teas are laden with cancer-causing pesticides does it make a difference for the tea to have cancer-fighting properties? Therefore do the toxic properties cancel out the beneficial properties? Being an avid tea consumer I was very shocked and disappointed to find out that some of my favourite brands of tea were among the worst for pesticide levels. Many of these brands market their teas as being beneficial to your health, yet do nothing to control the toxins existing in the teas. Here is another clear-cut case of profit being put before people’s health.

A look inside my personal tea cupboard, just so you can appreciate how much I really love tea!


Let’s take a look at some of the tea brands that contain the highest pesticide levels. Celestial Seasonings is among the worst; this makes me especially sad because I’ve always loved this tea brand (you can probably tell by my extensive collection). There’s just something so whimsical about the name Celestial Seasonings… Anyway, in a study conducted by EuroFins (a worldwide analytic testing company) 91% of Celestial Seasonings teas contained levels of pesticides that exceed the US federal limits. Considering all of the other toxins and poisons that the FDA lets slide by, this is very alarming. When Celestial Seasonings started in 1969, it was “founded on the belief that all natural teas could help people live healthier lives.” Maybe that was the case in 1969 because there weren’t as many pesticides being sprayed, but in this day and age we have to be wary of the products we are consuming.

Other notable teas containing toxic pesticides include: Tetley, Bigelow, Mighty Leaf, Teavanna, Tazo, Davids Tea and many more. Not only do many of these teas contain these toxic pesticides, many of them contain artificial flavorings as well. Also, a popular way to mask undesirable sounding ingredients is to tent them under the umbrella of “natural flavouring,” any ingredient that comes from a natural origin falls under this category. So, additives such as: Castoreum (a chemical taken out of glands from a beaver that are located near the anus,) Carmine aka Natural Red #4 (made from dried and ground up Cochina beetles, gives foods a red color,) and many more. Just because something says all natural doesn’t mean that it is a good thing for you to consume. Be sure to thoroughly read ingredient labels before purchasing; be aware of what you’re putting into your body.

Here is a chart that includes some popular tea brands and indicates whether or not they contain pesticides and additives.


With all this being said, you may be feeling a little down in the dumps, but don’t worry! There is an upside to all of this. There are some trustworthy companies that provide quality organic teas to its consumers by monitoring the amount of pesticides and also using sustainable farming methods and fair trade standards. Some of these include: Teatulia, Numi, Zhyna’s Gypsy Tea, Choice Organics, Traditional Medicinals, Rishi and many many more; you just have to look. Even though brands like this are a little more expensive than the conventional ones, it is well worth it. Not only will you be getting the full benefit that the tea has to offer, you will be supporting ethical, sustainable and organic farming practices. The more people that switch to brands like these, the greater push conventional brands will feel to start changing their practices and principles and get with the changing times!

Tea can definitely be a great way to boost your health. Black, green, white, oolong and pu-erh teas all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant that is native to China and India. These teas contain many anti-oxidants called flavonoids; the most potent of these are known as ECGC and can help against free radicals that can contribute to a variety of cancers and heart disease. Many herbal teas contain some pretty amazing health benefits as well, although they are not as beneficial as the teas that are coming from the Camellia plant.

Now that you have learned some of the truth behind your favourite teas, you can make a more informed  and healthy choice when considering the many different types of teas that are available! I know I will…  for the love of health and tea!

Much Love

Disclaimer to Consider: As stated on their website, Glaucus Research, their clients and/ or investors hold trading positions in the securities profiled on the site and therefore stand to realize significant gains in the event that the stock price rises or declines. We personally are not able to verify this study as 100% correct but felt that the results were still worth both noting and considering in the likelihood that they are indeed true.

Sources and additional information:







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More From 'Awareness'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Kathrin

    If you want to know what’s inside your tea package go to Teekampagne (www.teekampagne.de in the US available at Boston Tea Campaign) I think they are the only ones who offer organic tea and disclose the results of their pesticide screening done by Sofia Eurofins…

  2. Franklin Hudson

    Here’s the thing. Unless it’s from a root, all tea is from one type of leaf. Most of the brands listed here are processed, and packaged. These aren’t real, loose leaf TEA. Different types are created by different processing methods. Any avid tea drinker will tell you to take your stale tissue paper bags and go elsewhere. The flavanoids in the tea bag paper ruins the flavanoids in the tea. A good tea should not have even the slightest hint of tissue paper.

    Further, the major claim here is that these teas are full of “TOXINS” and “PESTICIDES” but neither are listed.

    What are they?

    If these things are so terrible for us, and a reputable company was used to identify these chemicals, then surely they should be able to identify the “toxins”. There are many database libraries, in text and in digital form, that reference chemicals and their effects of exposure. As an avid tea drinker and scientist, I’d like to know what they are.

    P.S. I study hydrological contaminant transport systems. This is how I make my living. If a pesticide or fungicide is sprayed on a crop that is toxic to anything, it usually ends up in our water systems.

    • Thanks, Frank, I appreciate your comment and input.

  3. Birgit

    Hi, thanks for sharing!
    I do wonder why YOGI tea (one of my favorite brands) appears to have toxic pesticides based on your information, but no pesticides shows in the infographic at Foodbabe.com?

    I tried to find more info on the YOGI webpage, but very little info about the origin of their ingredients. On http://www.yogitea.eu/en/frequently-asked-questions/ , they do state this: “The ingredients used by YOGI TEA® are bio-organic having been grown in controlled organic cultivations and with international certificates: IMO (D), SKAL (NL), KRAV(S), Debio (N), Soil Association (UK), AB (F).”

    Do you know if these certificates are trustworthy?
    Do you have any suggestions how/where to find out if the flavors YOGI uses, are safe?

    • David

      First rule of finding out anything of value about food, science, etc.:

      Never, ever read a single thing the FoodBabe writes. She is an utter moron, has no qualifications in either investigation, research, science, nutrition, biology, chemistry, or, well…anything useful that would lead to actual valuable or accurate information. She knows how to run a website and how to market herself, and make people afraid.

  4. Adam

    I purchase all my tea online through teavivre.com. I usually always purchase their organic teas, however even their non-organic teas are certified to a high standard and they even post the results of the chemical analysis for the certification.

    An example of this can be seen at the following:

  5. Cheri

    Why is rooibos tea/red espresso not mentioned here? I have previously advised that rooibos tea is grown organically in South Africa, no pesticides, and 10X more antioxidants than green tea. And delicious! I can not believe that it has been overlooked. These can be obtained overseas quite easily now. Loose tea or tea bags. We give this to our tiny babies to drink instead of cooldrinks and other crap

  6. Yogi tea shouldn’t contain any pesticides right? “The ingredients used by YOGI TEA® are bio-organic having been grown in controlled organic cultivations and with international certificates: IMO (D), SKAL (NL), KRAV(S), Debio (N), Soil Association (UK), AB (F).” At least according to Yoga Tea themselves: http://www.yogitea.eu/en/frequently-asked-questions/

  7. Alice

    So, How is Gevalia Tea??? My husband drinks only Earl Grey from Gevalia???

  8. Lern2tee

    Anyone who does not drink organic loose leaf tea and owns tea bags is not a tea drinker. Loose or gtfo

    • J

      Lose leaf contain “more containments”, no?

  9. Red

    hey guys could anybody be able to tell me if QI and Pukka Brands are safe and pesticide free? thanks

  10. John

    How about Starwest Botanicals Organic Gunpowder Green Tea? It says “organic” but are they? How can I find out?

  11. Matt

    Do you have any information on whole leaf teas, such as from Adagio or ESP Tea Emporium?

  12. jOHN

    This is hilarious, not because of the alarmist message it sends, but because ZERO of this is based on fact or any actual, credible research. There’s nothing wrong with considering possibilities, but it’s ridiculous to present this as an informative article. Here’s what conventional wisdom says: Drinking lipton every now and again won’t harm you. If you drink 4 or more cups a day, invest in some higher quality tea. Or, invest in high quality tea anyway since it’s non-perishable. What is a high quality tea? Do some actual research. Google and Wikipedia are your friends. We can be ecological, earth conscious, and awakened, but the prerequisite for this is a solid foundation of reason and knowledge.

  13. Piotr Sobierski

    Carmine is made synthetically from a long time already, it’s not made from beetles – don’t be so dramatic. I Wonder what other informatuion from this article is misleading…

  14. Kumar Listo

    I have been drinking tea an average of 2 cups a day since childhood. During the last 6 months my tea intake had increased to 4 cups a day, partly as a result of drinking milk flavoured with a spoon of black tea leaves. I woke up recently to aching wrists and crooked fingers, caused (doctor said) by tea! I now know that tea causes arthritis. Sad that I learned by making mistake rather than learning from knowledge that already existed. Any amount of tea is a causative agent for rheumatoid arthritis. Oh by the way, I am from India and we make tea by boiling the leaves for 5 to 10 minutes and then add milk to the boiling brew.

    • qunungnauraq
    • Govinda Foster

      From my understanding, rheumatoid arthritis comes from inflammation in the body, specifically from the foods you ingest. I don’t know what this “milk flavored” substance is you are eating, or where your black tea leaves are from (for all I know it could have a boat load of pesticides in it). Milk is known for causing inflammation in the body, this is a scientific fact, which can manifest in many nasty ways (including rheumatoid arthritis). If you are ingesting either milk, or a milk substitute in your tea, I would take a closer look at what you eat before you blame “tea” as the cause for your problems. “Tea”, as the source of your problems is a very broad statement, and I know many professionals that would disagree with your statement above. I highly suggest cutting out milk over “tea” before you label “tea” as an inflammatory agent. Most “tea”, whether Ayurvedic, traditional chinese medicine, or traditional western medicine goes back thousands of years as being healing medicine. Milk is generally not included. Milk is for baby cows, not humans, if you want milk I suggest breast milk, but if you are beyond infant status I wouldn’t suggest it

  15. tali

    I make my own green tea at home, i just put some leaves in the cup, like for instance mint or sage, it’s not organic but much better still

  16. Karen

    this is celestial seasonings reply to the customers

    • Mary

      Thank you for sharing…in fact I was just going to research CS since I couldn’t believe the above information in the article was true!

    • Reggie

      Who do you believe?

  17. syssojew

    Best tea ever. Teekampagne Berlin Germany…and fair!!!

  18. rubi

    I buy republic of tea at whole foods. It’s an organic store. I’m sure this is all Bullshit. I will continue buying my tea (: no matter what.THANKS alot for trying to lie to me though. LOL

    • Wow. Whole foods isn’t a completely organic store. You have to read each label, just like you need to read this article.

      • LOL @ deathtrap, its true that wholefoods isnt completely organic..and wheres the proof this article is lying?

  19. i feel that this is all specious reasoning. #1: there are no actual facts to back up these findings. how much pesticides? what kind of artificial flavors? what kind of GMOs? #2: there are no references. from where did you get this information? #3: all of these teas are SAFE or else they wouldn’t be available for consumption.

    stop the fear-mongering. if you’ve ever wiped your ass with white toilet paper, eaten at a fast food restaurant, or purchased a drink in a plastic bottle, you are being a hypocrite. stop giving people false information and stop judging people for stuff they enjoy. this article isn’t full of “helpful information,” it’s just full of first-world problems.

    • There are many things that are not safe and are available for comsumption. It would come down to what is considered safe I guess. If it won’t harm you immediately, then yes maybe you could say its safe. But long term, we know for a fact that pesticides, long term, affect health greatly. So if a tea isn’t organic it isn’t safe over long periods of time.

      The research in the article about the pesticide amounnts was based on lab results testing celestial seasoning teas.

      • colleen griffen

        (Joe)- right, pesticides are absolutely not ever safe, whole organic tea – (no bag) – are a safer way to go.

    • mikraas said: “all of these teas are SAFE or else they wouldn’t be available for consumption”
      But mikraas, think about that statement. Are you confining it to teas only? You must be because there are plenty of products available to the US-public and endorsed by the government that aren’t safe. Tobacco products come to mind most readily. Also, artificial sweeteners, OTC medications, etc.

    • thamolas

      mikraas is making the old “you’re not perfect so you shouldn’t try to live well at all” argument. Failing to be perfect doesn’t make one a hypocrite. Failing to try does.

  20. this is why i have went to whole herbs/teas, from organic companies, like Gaia or frontier,

  21. uhsmit

    Do you have a reputable source/reference as to the pesticides that DAVIDs Tea contains? I absolutely believe that Celestial isn’t safe, but I have a hard time believing that such a environmentally and socially-conscious and involved company would use an extreme amount of pesticides.

    • I do not know for sure if they are using “an extreme amount of pesticides,” however, DavidsTea has some teas that are labelled as organic, but most aren’t. If it is not organic than it most likely contains pesticides, also, DavidsTea uses a lot of flavorings, natural and artificial. Some types of their teas even have pieces of candy and even popcorn. That popcorn is most likely GMO.

  22. Mel

    Is ‘Zhyna’s Gypsy Teas’ misspelled in your article? I can only find a company name ‘Zhena’s’ when I google it.

  23. Amie

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to clarify that DAVIDsTEA had over 50 different organic teas (so no pesticides) and they add more to the collection every year. They also have 30 different teas with fair trade ingredients, and do quite a bit to work with farmers from all over the world to sustainably source quality tea. After learning about their passion for good tea—and for treating family farmers well—I’m happy to support the company. They also take their organic certification very seriously. When you get your organic tea scooped in store, they use special organic scoops as to not cross-contaminate! Just wanted to give credit where credit is due:)

    • Federico

      They can’t claim they love farmers and all, but the truth in Canada is that their tea surpasses the max levels of pesticides allowed, so, they are technically breaking the law and that needs to be exposed. I should not need to buy organic, thats a personal decision, regular tea that is sold, should not have that high level of toxicity, PERIOD. So, im sorry, but they are breaking the law, the fact that they offer 1000s of organic tea as well doesn’t make it right

      • Great point. Hopefully more people around the world will come to the same opinion and make such an uproar that things will start changing.

      • Chelsea

        Actually, DAVIDsTEA is not on the list for surpassing the amount of pesticides if you read the article. The source for DAVIDsTEA is a personal blog that a girl wrote saying she was disappointed for the use of artifical flavouring in some teas. DAVIDsTEA wasn’t actually in the study list. Please check your facts before coming to conclusions.

  24. I think TvM easy slim tea is a better option as it does not have any side effect and you can loose weight upto 10KG within 2 months. I, myself have lost 7KG weight in just 40 days. You can checkout its ingredients or place order at http://tvmall.in/

  25. guest

    I friend of mine died at the Celestial Seasonings Factory in Boulder Colorado. His skull was impaled by an I beam the company knew about but refused to fix. He was on life support for 2 years. Celestial Seasonings never paid one dollar of work man’s Compensation to him and the 2 years of hospital bills. His family was to poor after paying out of pocket to keep their son alive- to have enough left to sue Celestial Seasonings for damages and the loss of their son’s life. Their son died when they ran out of insurance. Celestial Seasonings could have 1. fixed the beam. 2. paid for treatment at the time of injury, 3. Prevented his death at every turn. But they were only concerned with money.
    Please consider this and do not buy any products from them any more. I used to like their teas and think they tasted yummy.
    But now they taste like murder. I can’t give this company any more money knowing that they caused this preventable death, refused any medical treament, and compensation to a family who lost so much.

    • Paul Harly

      Aww cmon, you just ruined a heartfelt plea with the sentence “I used to like their teas and think they tasted yummy.But now they taste like murder” I really find this incredible that you could write than and expect people to take this seriously, also how the hell did his death change the taste of the tea?

    • Dan

      References, please. Otherwise, your accusations have no credibility.

    • jay

      If true then money wouldn’t be needed for the lawyer! You are describing a multimillion dollar payout and a lawyer would get 40%-50%. And with a settlement most likely then any lawyer would jump on this without the family needing to provide money!

    • Franz

      Is it just me or did we suddenly get off topic? Keep your sad stories for your therapist.
      It makes my heart bleed, it really does, but we’re talking about tea here, not your thinly veiled personal vendetta to corporate injustice.

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