|Japanese Sencha green tea|
Several websites on the Internet claim that tea is dangerously high in fluoride -- the level of fluoride in tea is supposedly much greater than the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set for safe fluoride content of drinking water. This is technically true: the typical cup of tea (both green and black) contains over one milligram of fluoride, which is well over the recommended amount for fluoridated drinking water. However, the kind of fluoride found naturally in tea leaves is entirely different from the toxic chemically-produced sodium fluoride. when fluorine/fluoride is absorbed from the soil surrounding a tea plant, it is stabilized and rendered no longer dangerous. This information can, of course, all be confusing for someone worried about fluoride poisoning from their tea.
Fluoride is found, naturally, in tea, as well as mother's milk and several other perfectly safe substances. It has been found to occur even when the plants are raised in areas free of fluoride in the surrounding air and water -- The tea plants contain naturally occurring fluorine or fluoride compounds, which as stated earlier is safe at much higher levels than synthesized fluoride compounds. The unnatural version of fluoride that is commonly added to drinking water by local governments is far more likely to cause poisoning than tea. According to Dr. John R. Lee M.D. of the ADA, "Fluoride, once touted as an osteoporosis treatment, is, in fact, toxic to bone cells." Due to recent research the American Dental Association (ADA), which has previously advocated adding fluoride to drinking water, changed its guidelines for fluoride use in 2006 when i advised its members to suggest that parents of children younger than a year old "should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride" for mixing baby formula, and for drinking.
Further, if the naturally occurring fluoride in green tea were toxic at the levels a human can physically consume (like the synthetic fluoride found in tap water), the tea would not have shown to have such a wide variety of beneficial effects without any real evidence whatsoever of side effects. If the fluoride was dangerous, body's immune system and thyroid gland would weakened by the high levels, and symptoms would develop. Green tea helps to prevent cell mutation, promotes proper digestion, and stimulates greater brain function. Synthetic fluoride has been shown to have effects opposite to these.
The fluoride (or fluorine) that occurs in green tea, black tea, and other foods is rendered so inert by the plant's absorption process that it is able to pass through the body without absorption. The sodium fluoride found in water, on the other hand, is substantially less reactive and can be absorbed by the human body with much greater efficacy. As such, the fluoride in the water you use to make your tea is far mmore dangerous than the fluoride found within the tea leaves themselves.
In other tea news: I ordered several bags of loose tea today, will be posting pictures and reviews of those when they come in early next week.