चाय में प्लास्टिक...! Plastics in our tea

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


The world's first fully synthetic plastic was Bakelite, invented in New York in 1907, by Leo Baekeland, who coined the term "plastics". When humans consume food, drink water, or breathe air plasic goes inside the body.  Air water or food is contaminated with microplastics, Some estimates show that people in the U.S. consume and breathe in between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic fragments each year, What recent research makes clear so far is that microplastics are ubiquitous, that these particles enter peoples' bodies regularly during inhalation or through consumption of food or drinks, and that they find their way into vital body systems.

With all the distressing news about micro plastics in  our food, we might be tempted to comfort  our self with a nice cup of tea. Not so fast. A new study reveals tea brewed in “silken” tea bags could contain billions of plastic particles in a single cup.   Researchers steeped the plastic tea bags in hot water, and found the number of particles released into a cup was orders of magnitude greater than those in other food and drinks, they report this week in Environmental Science & Technology. The scientists aren’t sure whether these particles pose a risk to tea drinkers, because few studies examine microplastics’ effects on human health. When they exposed water fleas to the microplastics, though, they say the tiny creatures swam “crazily.” Apparently, the particles weren’t their cup of tea.

Does plastic ever leave the body?

Larger pieces of plastic can leave your body through elimination but there have been cases where it is absorbed or left sitting in the stomach. Chemically, plastics in small pieces can be absorbed into our body and poison us.  But we can limit plastic consumption and keep our body in a homeostasis state that detoxifies itself at all times. And the good news is that with the right diet and a healthy body, BPA and BPS can be flushed out of our system quickly generally within 24 hours.

What foods are high in microplastics?

Apples and carrots have the highest levels of microplastic particles. However, microplastics appeared in other crops such as pears, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, and turnips. Contamination in fruit and vegetables is thought to occur when plants suck water that contains microplastics up through their roots.

Simple Ways to Avoid Microplastics in our Everyday Life

Never microwave food in plastic containers and do not use takeaway cups. Do not eat seafood frequently, since sea animals are contaminated with plastics. Drink (filtered) tap water and never stored drinking water in plastic tanks. Use only plastic-free cosmetics and microbead-free beauty products. (The author has his own study and views)