Amount is significantly higher than the estimated amount of microplastics particles consumed by a person in an entire year
Tea drinkers could be getting more than they bargained for in their brew, as a new study has found that a single plastic tea bag can shed billions of particles of microplastics.
The researchers from McGill University in Canada have found that when plastic tea bags are steeped in a cup of almost boiling water (95C), the bag releases around 11.6bn microplastics and 3.1bn smaller nanoplastic particles into the cup.
This amount is significantly higher than the estimated amount of microplastics particles consumed by a person in an entire year. According to research published earlier this year, the average person eats at least 50,000 particles of microplastic annually and breathes in a similar quantity.
The researchers tested four different types of plastic commercial tea bags from shops and cafés in Montreal, which were cut open, washed and then steeped in near-boiling water for five minutes before being analysed by electron microscopes and spectroscopy.