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Coffee filters–killers? Tea bags–terrorists?

Posted by on April 24, 2013

More and more it seems like there is no place to hide no matter how hard you may try to eat right, avoid GMOs, eat organic, etc.  You’re a food lover and you know the drill.  But lurking in your coffee filters and tea bags comes some very disturbing news.

Sadly it isn’t too shocking.

Evidently coffee filters and tea bags, to prevent them from breaking open and leaving coffee grounds and tea leaves in your drink, are often treated with epichlorophydrin.  It saturates and impregnates the entire material of coffee filters and tea bags.  And, here’s the scary news, epichlorophydrin (a chemical mainly used in making epoxy resins) hydrolyzes to the carcinogen 3-MCPD* when contact with water occurs.

That’s where the article ended with coffee filters but it went on to discuss all the hidden health hazards in tea bags.  This was concerning to our family because while we love our coffee, we love our afternoon tea break too.

Some of the newer tea bags are made with different plastics; nylon, rayon, PVC, polypropylene, and more.  And when these plastics are heated, you know when you pour near-boiling water on the tea bag, the dangerous chemicals in the plastic leach out into the tea you’re drinking.  Ugh!

The articles breaking this story have a lot more depressing information and the links are below.

So the coffee filter and tea bag solution?

For coffee you can use a press.  Glass and stainless steel have been proven to be pretty safe vessels for cooking.  If you use a filter machine it’s up to YOU to make sure the brand of paper filter you’re using isn’t laden with harmful chemicals.  You can also switch to a metal screen coffee filter.  These are nice because they are reusable.  Another option would be an old fashioned percolator which is all stainless steel.

For tea the best bet is to use loose tea leaves.  You can also purchase stainless steel strainer balls that you put the loose tea in and then the ball effectively becomes the tea bag.

Here’s where I found the story that prompted this blog: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/24/tea-bags.aspx? 

And here’s where he found the story: http://theatlantic.datinggroud.com/health/archive/2013/04/are-tea-bags-turning-us-into-plastic/274482/

*Wikipedia has this to say about 3-MCPD: 3-MCPD or (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol or 3-chloropropane-1,2-diol) is an organic chemical compound which is carcinogenic and highly suspected to be genotoxic in humans, has male anti-fertility effects, and is a chemical byproduct which may be formed in foods, the most commonly found member of chemical contaminants known as chloropropanols.

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