Although tea can be beneficial for our health, consuming excess trace elements in tea can be harmful. In this study, the carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic health risk for trace elements in tea influenced by the country of origin, tea type, and infusion process was assessed. Tea (Camellia sinensis) purchased from China, India, and the USA, including black and green tea, were analyzed for essential micronutrients (Cu, Se, and Zn) and nonessential trace elements (Ag, As, Ba, Cd, Cr, and Pb) in leaves and three types of infusions. The results showed that country of origin, tea type, and infusion process had a significant influence on the trace element contents in tea leaves and infusions, also on health risk. Country of origin had a significant influence on Ba, Cr, Pb, and Zn contents in tea leaves and on As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, and Zn contents in tea infusions. Black tea had significantly higher (p < 0.05) Cr and Cu content in tea leaves than green tea, but only Cr content was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that of green tea in tea infusion. The trace element contents were the highest in the first infusion and decreased as the number of infusion steps increased. The results showed that the consumption of tea infusion was not likely to cause noncarcinogenic risk. However, the carcinogenic risk for As was of concern. Our results indicate that avoiding drinking the first infusion can help to reduce both carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic health risks for trace elements.
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Na Nagara, V., Sarkar, D., Luo, Q. et al. Health Risk Assessment of Exposure to Trace Elements from Drinking Black and Green Tea Marketed in Three Countries . Biol Trace Elem Res 200, 2970–2982 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-021-02863-3