Recent research shows that tea is healthier than tap water when it comes to the concentration of disinfection byproducts (DBPs).
Namely, in a report published by Environmental Science & Technology, scientists claimed they found 60 substances in three types of tea that can be categorized as disinfectant derivatives. This is a lot less than the average glass of tap water, which usually contains DBPs in even larger quantities.
Another surprising finding is that some of the DBPs isolated from tea were brand new, and not part of the over 600 DBPs that have been identified so far.
So, what are DBPs?
DBPs are chemicals produced indirectly, by the use of disinfectants — substances used to kill off pathogens in water like bacteria, parasites, etc. These disinfectants react with organic compounds found in tea to create DBPs. For example, the chlorine used in the treatment of tap water is one of the primary substances that react with other compounds in the tea to create potentially dangerous in the long term.
Scientists still struggle to identify the DBPs’ effects on human health, although some have already been linked to low birth weight in babies, miscarriages, and even cancer.
But when it comes to tea, things seem more optimistic. Namely, the very boiling of water makes some of the DBPs evaporate, while others are absorbed by the tea leaves.
One thing is for sure—a high-end tea kettle will eliminate these DBPs by speeding up the boiling process. This is something of a relief, as the average cup of tea contains over 500 compounds, all of which can react with disinfection substances in the water.