Laura Hernandez

PhD student in Chemical Engineering
McGill University

Award-winning publication:  Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea

Published in: Environmental Science & Technology


Despite political will to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products, some teas are sold in plastic, rather than paper, tea bags. Laura Hernandez aimed to characterize and estimate the release of plastic particles during brewing. She showed that a single plastic tea bag could release billions of plastic microparticles and nanoparticles—much higher levels of exposure than other foods (thousands of times higher than table salts, for example). These particles lead to behavioural and development problems in daphnia, tiny freshwater crustaceans.