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Heavy Metals in Tea From China
Question: How significant are the risks to drinking tea from China from heavy metals?
Answer: In the past, ConsumerLab.com and other research groups have found significant amounts of lead contaminating some teas from China. Contamination is most common in tea made from older leaves, as in black tea and Oolong tea, than from younger leaves used to make green tea. Our most recent tests of popular brewable green teas on the market did not find lead contamination to be a significant issue.
However, as amounts of lead in tea can vary depending on the region in which it is grown and how it is prepared (tea bags and filters may reduce the amount of lead from tea leaves that reaches the brewed tea liquid), it may be best to choose a tea that has been tested and confirmed to not to exceed limits for lead. For more about this, see the Quality Concerns section of the Green Tea Review, as well as our tests of popular teas and our Top Picks among products, including teas sold loose, in tea bags, as a K-cup, matcha teas and powders, and bottled teas.