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Trace element content in tea brewed in traditional metallic and stainless steel teapots


The migration of metals in tea brewed in metallic teapots was investigated. The teapots were obtained from North Africa stores in Brussels in 2005–2006 and in 2011. Chinese gunpowder green tea, the most commonly used tea in the Moroccan community, was used to prepare the tea. Tea brewed in metallic teapots was compared to tea brewed in a glass vessel in order to evaluate the contribution of the tea and the teapots to the metal concentrations in the brewed tea. Tea samples were also collected in Moroccan households and in tearooms in Brussels. The elements As, Cd, Pb, Sn, Mn, Fe, Cr, Co, Ni, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Al were analyzed by high-resolution sector field inductively coupled mass spectrometry. The relationship between the metal composition of the alloy of the teapot and the metal concentration in tea was also investigated. Migration of Pb and to a lesser amount Ni, Cu, and Zn was observed in brass teapots and migration of Cd from a number of stainless steel teapots was observed. The soldering connecting the sprout to the teapot was shown to be an important source of Pb to the tea. High levels of Mn and Al were also observed in the brewed tea and these elements where shown to originate from the tea itself. Metal exposure from tea drinking was calculated for different tea consumption levels and different metal concentration levels and compared to toxicological reference values.

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Correspondence to M. Leermakers.

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Petit, D., El Houari, W., Jacobs, K. et al. Trace element content in tea brewed in traditional metallic and stainless steel teapots. Environ Monit Assess 185, 8957–8966 (2013).

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  • Tea
  • Beverages
  • Teapots
  • Food contact materials
  • Soldering
  • Lead
  • Metals
  • Toxic elements
  • Migration
  • Exposure