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Jane Says: What You Should Know About Lead in Green Tea

Fears over lead in green tea have more to do with the leaves than the drink itself.

Is green tea good for you?

Have you ever wondered if green tea is good for you? (Photo: wulingyun/Getty Images)

June 12, 2013 By 

Jane Lear was on staff at ‘Gourmet’ for almost 20 years.

full bio 

“I always thought green tea was good for you, but recently I’ve heard reports that it can contain the additive soy lecithin (why??) or be contaminated with lead. Should I stop drinking it?”

—Rory Anawalt

After water, tea is the most consumed drink on the planet. All of it—black, green, and in-between—comes from the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis. Yep, you read that correctly—the tea we drink is the leaf of a camellia. The two major varieties used for tea are C. sinensisvar. sinensis (Chinese tea), which is probably native to western Yunnan, and C. sinensis var.assamica (Assam tea, Indian tea), native to the warmer parts of Assam (India), Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and southern China.

We’ll never know if an Indian tribesman or a Chinese healer brewed the primal cup of tea, writes Beatrice Hohenegger in Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West, but it was first cultivated in China during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E–220 C.E.). As a beverage, tea was celebrated by Taoists as an elixir of immortality, developed as a spiritual practice in Buddhist Japan, and became the catalyst of intrigue, industry, empire, and war. It does not require an assist from soy lecithin.

Unless, of course, you need the emulsifier/stabilizer to keep the “natural flavorings” in certain teas smoothly blended together so that they disperse into brewing tea. If you avoid soy—or just want unadulterated tea—it pays to read the ingredients list on the label. That’s especially true if you enjoy teas flavored with fruits, herbs, or spices, even from a “100% natural” brand such as Celestial Seasonings. At least that company’s lecithin comes from non-GMO soy.

The difference between green and black tea, by the way, is based on the degree of oxidation the leaves receive. Green tea comes from leaves that are steamed, pan-fired, or oven-fired immediately after picking, so minimal oxidation occurs. (White tea, made from new-growth buds and young leaves, is even less processed.) In a black tea—or red tea, as it’s called in China—the leaves are well and truly oxidized. The type of tea called oolong occupies the middle range; its partial oxidation results in varying, distinctive flavors and complex aromas.

All teas are rich in antioxidants, but green tea, especially when brewed from loose leaves, is known for its great abundance of the polyphenols classified as catechins—in particular, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). A great deal has been written about the health benefits of green tea, so I’ll spare you here; for an in-depth review, check out this research from theUniversity of Granada, in Spain.

Okay, about this lead business. ConsumerLab.com, an independent site that tests health and nutrition products, reported on May 21 that not only did catechin and caffeine levels vary widely in the green teas it tested (from Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Salada, and Teavana), but that some contain lead in their leaves. “Lead is known to be taken up into tea leaves from the environment and can occur in high amounts in tea plants grown near industrial areas and active roadways, such as in certain areas in China …. the liquid portions of the brewed teas [italics mine] did not contain measurable amounts of lead (i.e., no more than 1.25 mcg per serving).” A microgram is equal to one millionth of a gram. As long as you don’t eat the tea leaves, you have nothing to worry about, in other words.

That said, limiting our exposure to lead is a smart thing to do (for excellent in-depth reporting on the subject, read USA Today’s recent coverage), but it’s important to understand that the chemical element occurs naturally everywhere, even in uncontaminated soils. Fortunately, a healthy diet rich in vitamin C, calcium, and iron can help mitigate lead’s harmful effects.

Lead contamination of C. sinensis has been studied at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in Hangzhou, for years. In one article, published in the January 2006 issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, Chinese researchers analyze the lead concentrations in 1225 tea samples collected nationally between 1999 and 2001; among their findings was that 32 percent of the samples exceeded the national maximum permissible concentration and there was an increasing trend in tea lead concentration from 1989 to 2000. In another, more heartening piece, published the following year in the journal Chemosphere, the researchers indicate that the liming (neutralizing) of acidic tea-garden soils is an effective way to reduce lead contamination in tea leaves.

And, you may ask, what about trace amounts of radiation showing up in Japanese green tea? Much of that country’s tea is produced far to the west of Fuskushima, where the 2011 nuclear power-plant disaster occurred, but still—is there reason to worry? I turned to Elizabeth Andoh, the world’s leading English-language authority on Japanese food (and longtime Gourmetcontributing editor). “The subject of radiation contamination of the food chain (tea included) is VERY complicated,” she wrote. “For me, the bottom line is the reputation of the vendor and the vendor’s diligence in researching and testing.” If choosing an online vendor, look to see if the company includes radiation test results for their teas.

So, should you simply avoid green tea altogether? Well, it’s not a necessary nutrient, so it is your choice to drink it or not. Jeffrey Blumberg, director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory and professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, both at Tufts University, weighed in. “The vast majority of observational studies on large populations of tea drinkers (including those in China) show a dose-related health benefit of tea consumption (i.e., the larger the intake, the greater the benefit), particularly in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” he wrote. That’s enough for me.

Tips for buying and brewing green tea

When buying green tea, it’s worth remembering that it is an agricultural crop. Its quality from year to year depends on a number of factors, including climate, weather, soil health, proximity to highway or industrial pollutants, whether it’s harvested by hand or machine, and the care with which it’s been handled, stored, and shipped. “There are thousands of green teas in China,” explained tea merchant Sebastian Beckworth, who travels to remote parts of that and other countries to source fine teas from small farms and collectives. “I don’t blend my teas for consistency,” he added. “I’d rather find farmers who are making a good crop and buy it. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

He also introduced the concept of seasonality. “The harvest time is now,” he said. “And green teas don’t keep as long as black teas do. Enjoy a green tea for six months, then try something else.” Any other tips? Forgo prepackaged teabags, which are filled with bits of broken leaves, for the loose leaves; in general, they’re of higher quality, fresher, and you’ll be rewarded with nuances of flavor. And because green tea is so delicate, always brew the leaves in water that hasn’t quite reached a boil (about 180 ºF).





Jane Says: All Carbohydrates Are Not Created Equal

Jane Says: Superbugs Are No Joke

The fall of reason: How to protect your sanity in an insane world (and achieve spiritual victory in the process)


Mike Adams — Natural News July 16, 2013

I’m reaching out to you all with words of assurance as I write this story. By now, I think we all are overwhelmingly convinced that we live in an insane world. I call it the “post-reason era.”

 It’s a world full of irrational people, criminal corporations, deceptive government, the abandonment of law and even the “dogmatizing” of the sciences which once claimed to be based on reason. In popular culture, we’ve got the insanity of the Trayvon Martin drama in which the abandonment of law is now institutionalized in the justice system itself, where prosecutors are allowed to commit crimes as part of a “trial,” and state attorneys are encouraged to misapply the justice system so that it might be used as a political weapon.

 In the realm of medicine, we’ve got patients being routinely poisoned with deadly chemicals in cancer clinics, infants being injected with deadly methyl mercury via vaccines, “preventive” double mastectomies being promoted as a women’s rights issue, and now the new “bioethics” idea that parents have the right to abort newborn babies up to the age of three.

 The mind-warping linguistic engineers in the media have infected the population with wild delusions while the banksters get subsidized by the government to keep stealing — and losing — your money over and over again. A toxic chemical variety of fluoride is dripped into the water supply to keep people in a never-ending state of mental stupor, and television is scripted to foment hatred, violence, division and paranoia so that the rise of the surveillance police state can continue relentlessly.

 Terror events are plotted by the FBI, pedophiles run rampant throughout the culture and television is now sexualizing children and depicting six-year-olds dressed as prostitutes as “normal.” Meanwhile, anyone who cites American history — Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Payne — is immediately branded a possible terrorist and then electronically stalked by the NSA which we now know is reading all our emails and listening to all our phone calls.

 At every turn, our sanity is being sucker-punched by a culture gone mad. We are watching the downfall of civilization right before our very eyes,

 So how do you stay sane as all this madness is swirling around you? I offer you six safe harbors, ranging from the practical to the spiritual:

#1) Stop wasting time trying to awaken the zombies

First, realize that you are not going to be able to stop the collapse. Human civilization today is much like a burned-out star that has just flamed out its last nuclear fuel. Now the implosion has begun, and the immutable forces of physics will collapse that star into itself.

 There’s nothing you can do to stop it except get out of the way. Our modern world is much like that. I’m convinced the implosion is now unstoppable. The mass poisoning of the people through vaccines, fluoride, pharmaceuticals, chemtrails, television and brainwashing media has left us a far worse state of widespread madness than the lead-poisoned Roman Empire experienced before its fall.

 If you have any ability to think with clarity; to reason, to discern or to analyze, you are now a genius living among zombies. You are now among a tiny minority of those who still have their minds intact, and each of us is of course being targeted by the zombie masses who quite literally want to bash our brains in because we retain the much-hated ability to discern truth from lies.

 You are not going to be able to reach these zombie masses with reason. They are far gone. Their brains have been turned to chemically-contaminated, media-warped neuro-mush. Some of them can barely speak in intelligible words, and many can’t read. They are the illiterate, poisoned zombie masses, and it is now a waste of time to try to reach them.

 Instead of trying to reverse the implosion that’s coming, it is now far wiser to prepare yourself and your family to survive it. I believe the time has now passed when we might have reached a few more people and saved them from the coming event I call Holocaust 2.0. Now, their fate is in their own hands. They are beyond our reach. We must focus on the survival of our families and children, for they represent the future of human civilization.

 By the way, I am not afraid of offending any zombies in writing this article, primarily because the zombies can’t read. This alphabet-based text media is the secret way people like you and I can communicate, okay? Just don’t read it out loud, because the zombies can hear words just fine.

#2) Boost your adaptogenic nutrition

To survive the implosion / collapse, you are going to need outstanding nutrition. This means that right now is a good time to focus on dropping all the junk from your diet and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, superfoods and high-grade nutritional supplements.

 I especially want to encourage you to boost your intake of so-called “adaptogens” — medicinal herbs with special properties that help protect you from stress. Herbs like ginseng, turmeric and astragalus are amazing adaptogenic medicines. Rhodiola, cordyceps and holy basil are also very powerful.

 In terms of more mundane nutrition, I urge you to boost your intake of natural vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Always work with a naturopathic physician when dramatically altering your nutrition intake, just to make sure you’re keeping everything in balance.

 SAM-e is an important nutrient to consider taking because of the way it contributes to the healthy methylation cycle in cellular biology. Yes, SAM-e is expensive, but for many people it also improves mood and optimism in addition to boosting energy.

 Now is also a good time to start juicing if you don’t already practice it. Juicing is one of the best ways to bring high-density nutrition into your body. As you do this, I strongly recommend you add one quarter of a beet root to every batch of juice you make. (You might even add half a beet, or a whole beet root). Beetroot boosts athletic endurance while also lowering blood pressure. It helps you chill out, in other words, while also giving you more stamina when you really need it. (Super athletes are increasingly discovering the astonishing properties of beetroot, and they’re using its juice to improve their athletic performance.)

 I wrote a lengthy chapter on nutrition for tactical survival which is included in the outstanding book by Joe Nobody, entitled, The Home Schooled Shootist.


#3) Protect your own sanity at all costs

This point is easy to forget: If you hope to survive the collapse of society, you will need to go to great lengths to protect your own sanity so that your own brain functions at a high level, even when under stress.

 On the simple side, this means taking basic precautions like:

 • Don’t drink the (fluoridated) tap water

• Don’t take antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs
• Don’t watch broadcast television
• Don’t smoke pot or use other drugs that numb the mind

 But there’s also something else that’s VERY difficult to protect against: Hidden heavy metals in foods.

 I’ll have a lot more to reveal on this topic later this year, but much of the global food supply is radically contaminated with mind-numbing heavy metals such as lead. Lab tests that we are conducting here at Natural News are revealing alarming levels of cadmium in brown rice, lead in personal cosmetics products and some nutritional supplements, arsenic in seaweeds and alarmingly high levels of dangerous metals across the food supply.

 Right now, there’s not a simple way to reliably avoid these metals. They’re invisible in foods, after all. But here at Natural News, we’re working on a way to make it a lot easier for you to know the metals content of the food you’re eating, and I’ll be making some significant announcements on that front before the end of 2013.

#4) Prepare to fight for your survival

One of my tactical pistol combat instructors asked me one day, “Mike, you know why the zombie apocalypse won’t happen?”

 “Why?” I answered.

 “Because I want it to,” he grinned.

 Scary dude, I know. But I also happen to think he’s wrong. The zombie apocalypse has already begun and his wish has unfortunately come true.

 Look across the streets of America right now, and what do you see? Irrational, mindless people roaming the cities, blocking the roadways and interstates, smashing windows and starting fires, desperately searching for flesh and blood that they can destroy. Zombies are incapable of comprehending the rule of law and thus have no real place in a civilized society. They are the lawless, irrational, brain-dead zombie masses, and when their numbers rise as the fragile veneer of a polite society crumbles, they will come for your food, your jewelry, your cash, your guns and your life.

 They exist only to FEED on the innocent… meaning anyone who doesn’t agree with their irrational rage and abandonment of law and order.

 I used to believe the coming collapse might be at least somewhat organized… that people might stand calmly in government food lines, or that they might pull together in communities for the common good, to help each other in times of need.

 I was kidding myself. That might happen in Japan, but not the Divided States of America. Now I recognize the fall of reason in its entirety, and I now know with certainty that the zombie masses cannot be reasoned with, cannot be bargained with, and cannot be stopped by anything other than sheer force.

 Are you ready to exert force in defense of your life and property? If not, I would suggest you’re not really ready for the fall of society that’s now at our doorstep.

 If you’re not willing to exert force, are you really, really good at running from trouble and evading attackers? That might save you. But running and evading works a whole lot better if you also have a .45 pistol at your side as a backup… just in case you run out of places to hide.

 The violence that I now see unfolding across America is the final cue that self defense is a prerequisite for survival. When the last shred of law and order is abandoned — and that day seems very near — it will all break down into a Wild West scenario where only the armed (and the willing) have any real chance at survival.

 So point No. 4 is to get yourself armed and trained at concealed carry. It will give you a sense of confidence, thereby vastly reducing your stress.

#5) Remember the big (spiritual) picture: It’s all a test for your soul

What you call “life” is really nothing more than a simulation for your soul. Earth is a testing ground, of sorts, where you are intentionally forced to face great evil and deception.

 The point of the test is to find out how dedicated you are to overcoming evil and protecting the innocent. Will you give in to evil and deception? Or will you take a stand for real justice while protecting the innocent, no matter what the cost?

 If you run around the streets of America beating up innocent people, smashing in windows, causing havoc and behaving like a total moron, you fail the spiritual test of life on this planet. On the other hand, if you help defend the innocent while fighting against evil and deception, you pass the grand test with flying colors.

 Every action you take in this life is recorded for eternity. Some people call it Karma. Other say it is inscribed in the Akashic records. Others say God is watching. These are all different variations of the same theme: judgment of your actions.

 Ultimately, we will each be judged for the totality of our actions. And as that day of judgment comes for each of us, there will be no secrets. You may be able to conceal your secrets from other humans in this life, but you cannot conceal anything from your own soul and the greater cosmic consciousness that many call God.


 So as you witness all those lost souls around you in society today, recognize they are allsoul failures who have already given in to the cosmic forces of destruction and evil. Part of your test is being able to be surrounded by evil and yet not give in to it. Allow your recognition of their failure to bolster your strength to defend all that is good and just and Godly.

#6) Remember that you are not alone

Although you may think you’re wildly outnumbered by all the insane zombies who seem to dominate society today, remember that you are not alone. There are many others like you who still retain working brains and awakened souls.

 You must seek out others who share your higher path of awakening and wisdom. Find them while you can and form alliances of mutual strength so that when the time comes to defeat evil, you will have both the spiritual support and the physical presence to do what is necessary.

 Remember that the tests you face in this life will, by design, not be easy. You will be faced with circumstances that force you to expand your comfort zone and grow as a responsible adult. You will be forced to make very difficult decisions and take courageous action that you never thought yourself capable of completing.

 With each challenge that you face and overcome, you will grow in courage and spirit. You gain authenticity, power and wisdom by facing life challenges head on, not by chilling out on Easy Street and burying your head in the sand.

 Expect to be challenged. Expect survival to be difficult. But don’t let that expectation dissuade you in any way from facing your future with a sense of confidence and determination.

 You are, after all, a powerful conscience being who has, at some level, chosen to be here at this time to face these challenges. You agreed to be here for a higher purpose… to be part of this revolution in human awakening that will follow the coming collapse. You are important and you are needed. And if you’re reading this article, you are the resistance against pure evil.

Now your purpose becomes clear

So take courage in the realization that your calling is to be right here, right now, in the thick of the downfall of civilization we now see starting to unfold all around us. And it is your most important mission to hold firm in your truth even when you might feel surrounded by betrayal, insanity or collapse.

 Even the continued existence of your physical body must be secondary to your commitment to the principles of true justice, awakening and the protection of life. Hold to those principles and you win the simulation, no matter what happens inside the simulation.

 When it’s all said and done — when you pass on — you will look back at your life and laugh at how you and everyone else took it all so seriously when the answers are so very simple. “The game” isn’t about who dies with the most money, power or real estate. You win the game by honoring the principles that have been laid out for humans through every world religion in human history: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Respect life. Defend life. Live with humility, avoid conflict when you can, yet unleash your inner warrior when necessary to defend the innocent.

 These are universal principles of spiritual adulthood. Your achievement of them does not require recognition of those principles by any other person living in this simulation. This is YOUR journey, and you alone are responsible for what you make of it.