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Abstract Title:

Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea.

Abstract Source:

Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Sep 25. Epub 2019 Sep 25. PMID: 31552738

Abstract Author(s):

Laura M Hernandez, Elvis Genbo Xu, Hans C E Larsson, Rui Tahara, Vimal B Maisuria, Nathalie Tufenkji

Article Affiliation:

Laura M Hernandez

Abstract:

The increasing presence of micro- and nano-sized plastics in the environment and food chain is of growing concern. Although mindful consumers are promoting the reduction of single-use plastics, some manufacturers are creating new plastic packaging to replace traditional paper uses, such as plastic teabags. The objective of this study was to determine whether plastic teabags could release microplastics and/or nanoplastics during a typical steeping process. We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95°C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage. The composition of the released particles is matched to the original teabags (nylon and polyethylene terephthalate) using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The levels of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate particles released from the teabag packaging are several orders of magnitude higher than plastic loads previously reported in other foods. An initial acute invertebrate toxicity assessment shows that exposure to onlythe particles released from the teabags caused dose-dependent behavioral and developmental effects.

Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links
Additional Keywords : Microplastic, Plastic Tea Bag

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