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Fluoride in Tea...

by (22913)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:15 PM
Created September 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I've been reading alot more lately on environmental effects on our food.

I came across a very disturbing report about my favorite non water beverage...

Apparently my green tea(and other types) contain significant levels of fluoride..

I filter my water heavily, use fluoride free toothpaste, bt apparently am getting all the fluoride anyways

How can I get my tea fluoride free, or is this another dietary loss due to acute toxins?

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39821 · March 11, 2013 at 3:28 AM

Municipal water is not the reason for bioaccumulation of fluoride in tea leaves.

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78417 · April 27, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Hey Matthew, I have a question re: loose leaf green tea imported(I don't know where) from China purchased at a Chinese food store in Canada. Would this tea likely contain fluoride to significatn amounts? I have been consuming 10 grams of green tea per day simply as a vegetable/herb(adding it to omelettes,etc.) Would this practice lead one dangerously close to fluorosis?

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78417 · March 15, 2011 at 4:59 AM

I've heard often that pouring hot water over tea and steeping for a short time, (like 30 seconds or one minute) and then dumping that tea will get rid of most of the caffeine. Then just add more hot water to the same tea leaves steep and enjoy.

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19220 · September 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM

That mercola article is about instant powdered tea. I don't know why anyone would want to drink that stuff anyway.

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1972 · September 17, 2010 at 9:25 PM

I would worry first about your drinking water. Just because it is filtered doesn't mean you have removed the fluoride. You have to specifically filter for fluoride or use reverse osmosis.

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255 · September 17, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Whoa! Where do I find out about these chemicals? I drink decaf regularly...

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Any links on this?

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I'd like to know this as well...

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

@Jon good catch, fixed spelling

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15966 · September 17, 2010 at 2:05 PM

this is a tough one, and i too was shocked when i read a Mercola article about this a while back. I have since cut back on my formerly regular green and black tea consumption. I lived in Japan for five years and drank green tea a LOT. I never experienced what i recognized as ill effects, but who knows. By the way, over there in general there are organic and high quality green teas widely available, they NEVER use boiling water (much much cooler water) and they steep for much shorter amounts of time. The flavors are much more subtle and overall i think easier to drink.

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1665 · September 17, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Hi, I edited your tag. Could you change the headline to "Fluoride in tea" to make it easier to find with a search engine?

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Yeah decaf is even scarier with the chemicals used to remove the caffeine

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8 Answers

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4359 · September 17, 2010 at 1:32 PM

It's in black tea too (albeit in lower concentrations). Apparently, "brick tea," a variety made from old leaves is worse. High quality loose leaf tea made from young leaves, on average, should be better.

Overall, I'd go with the strong epidemiological track record of teas (especially green) over theoretical concerns about fluoride or aluminum.

Also, the dangers of fluorosis appear to be greatly mitigated in people that are magnesium, calcium, and vit D replete.

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19220 · September 18, 2010 at 12:53 AM

All tea leaves have some fluoride in. It is a natural feature of the tea plant to take up fluoride from the soil and water. The amount in the plant depends on the concentration of fluoride in the soils as this varies between different areas of the world, industrial pollution can add to this. Organic teas would be no different in this respect.

The amount of fluoride is tea leaves increases as the leaves mature and age. This is why brick tea made from the oldest leaves of the plant contain the highest levels and cause problems of fluoridosis in places such as Tibet where the tea is regularly drunk. For this reason black tea usually has more fluoride than unfermented green teas as green teas often use younger leaves.

In fact generally the better quality green teas, particularly whole loose leaf tea, will come from the newly growing leaves at the tip of the plant. The rarest form known as white tea is produced from the young growing buds of the plant.

Cheaper tea used in tea bags and the crap tea leaves that go into instant tea comes from older leaves. Apparently heavy long-term consumption of instant tea can cause skeletal fluorosis in rare cases.

The form of fluoride naturally occuring in tea is calcium fluoride while sodium fluoride is what is usually added to drinking water and toothpaste. Calcium fluoride is less soluble in water and seems to be considered less toxic for this reason. In many parts of the world natural levels of fluoride equal that of fluoridated drinking water in the USA.

The longer you brew your tea for the more fluoride will come out of the tea. I don't see any way to get fluoride free tea. I have read many scare stories about fluoride on the internet, most people who write about it are so entrenched in the belief that fluoride is the root of all evil it is hard to get any straight unbiased facts about it. I expect worrying about it too much will do you more harm than the fluoride will.

I am also a complete tea snob and love my loose leaf teas from china. Buy some decent quality loose leaf like this and enjoy real tea in moderation. Not drinking fluoridated water or toothpaste I personally don't see this as something to worry to much about.

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78417 · April 27, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Hey Matthew, I have a question re: loose leaf green tea imported(I don't know where) from China purchased at a Chinese food store in Canada. Would this tea likely contain fluoride to significatn amounts? I have been consuming 10 grams of green tea per day simply as a vegetable/herb(adding it to omelettes,etc.) Would this practice lead one dangerously close to fluorosis?

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678 · September 17, 2010 at 1:43 PM

In Robb Wolf's latest podcast he mentioned something interesting about tea - letting the tea sit in cold water for a few minutes removes a good portion of the caffeine, since it is soluable at that temp, then steep it in hot water to extract the flavor, catechins, etc. I wonder if the fluoride would disolve out into the cold water, as well.

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I'd like to know this as well...

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20 · September 29, 2012 at 4:39 PM

No reason to believe Organic would be lower in fluoride. Fluoride is naturally occurring. White Tea has less Fluoride since the leaves are picked at a younger age. The longer the leafs age the more Fluoride it contains.

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3756 · September 17, 2010 at 1:15 PM

I ran across this article regarding fluoride: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/09/fluoride-tea.aspx

It has a pretty good chart of fluoride levels in major brands of tea. It also links here: http://www.bodyecology.com/06/11/23/green_tea_health_benefits.php to introduce a tea extract with only trace amount of fluoride. It looks like a pretty good option. A little pricey, but might be worth a try!

You can buy the extract here: https://shop.bodyecology.com/prodinfo.asp?number=BE402

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19220 · September 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM

That mercola article is about instant powdered tea. I don't know why anyone would want to drink that stuff anyway.

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2423 · September 17, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Yeah, this was a sad revelation for me about a year ago. I had been drinking a good bit of decaf iced tea, but have cut down dramatically.

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78417 · March 15, 2011 at 4:59 AM

I've heard often that pouring hot water over tea and steeping for a short time, (like 30 seconds or one minute) and then dumping that tea will get rid of most of the caffeine. Then just add more hot water to the same tea leaves steep and enjoy.

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255 · September 17, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Whoa! Where do I find out about these chemicals? I drink decaf regularly...

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Yeah decaf is even scarier with the chemicals used to remove the caffeine

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0 · March 11, 2013 at 3:19 AM

The tea leaf (especially the green tea leaf) is very absorbent. It can soak up the good things like anti oxidants as well as the bad (toxins). The USDA 100% organic standard fails to properly evaluate the quality of water used in production. A department of public utilities applies standards to ensure the 'safe' consumption of public water. These standards just so happen to include the addition of carcinogenic inorganic compounds such as sodium fluoride. And yes, fluoride is a carcinogen. (see www.fluoridation.com/cancer.htm)

If you consistently use fluoridated water on a tea plant, you're gunna have a bad time. So unless you don't care if you or your loved ones get cancer, make sure your tea was grown from a source that takes pride in a quality organic product that was treated with actual H2O and not city water..

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39821 · March 11, 2013 at 3:28 AM

Municipal water is not the reason for bioaccumulation of fluoride in tea leaves.

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2065 · September 17, 2010 at 2:49 PM

I was under the impression that fluoride in tea was mainly a concern in non-organics. I'm sorry I don't have any links or anything, but I thought that the chemical fertilizers used for tea growing contained varying amounts of chemical fluoride and that's how it ends up in the tea. In organic tea this wouldn't be an issue. Fluoride is of course also a naturally occurring substance so we could expect it to show up in all soil and water to varying degrees. If you avoid synthetically fluoridated water and toothpaste I really don't think you should stress too much about the tea. Whole Foods sells a house brand of green and black tea that's actually pretty cheap.

edit (after looking for links) I'm not finding any definitive studies or data in my search, but I keep finding others in agreement. There seems to be a vague "organic should be lower in fluoride" idea out there, but no data to be found. My personal reasoning is this: Tea plants uptake fluoride more than any other plant. Pollution and pesticide/chemical fertilizer use leads to conventionally grown tea having abnormal and unhealthy levels of fluoride. Organically grown tea will be not be exposed to any synthetic fluoride by the farmer. Naturally occurring fluoride in the soil may be present as well as natural or synthetic fl in the water used (to water the plants). If the area is very polluted additional synthetic fluoride could be found in the otherwise organic tea. However, this should still be far less than the fluoride found in non-organics. There may be no way of knowing for sure how much fl is in your cup of tea, but the important message might be to buy the best quality tea you can and imbibe in moderation.

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22913 · September 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Any links on this?

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