Researchers tested 26 types of green tea beverages and found some disturbing facts:

  • They found that some ready-to-drink teas were mostly sugar water.
  • Some bagged teas, especially those containing tea grown in China, were contaminated with lead.

“Lead can occur in many botanical products because it is taken up from the ground,” Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of, told the New York Times. “The green tea plant is known to absorb lead at a higher rate than other plants from the environment, and lead also can build up on the surface of the leaves.”

The researchers found 1.25 micrograms to 2.5 micrograms of lead in tea bags from Lipton and Bigelow, both of which contain tea grown in China. Loose tea leaves from Teavana did not contain measurable amounts of lead.

“The majority of the lead is staying with the leaf,” Cooperman explained. “If you’re brewing it with a tea bag, the tea bag is very effectively filtering out most of the lead by keeping those tea leaves inside the bag.”

The best green tea, according to experts? Avoid bottled green tea beverages and stick to green tea brewed from regular green tea bags for the best benefits.

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