Fluoride Action Network

FDA Encouraged to Set Tea Fluoride Safety Standard

Source: Buisiness Wire | March 8th, 2005

TRUMBULL, Conn.– Sin Hang Lee, M.D., a private citizen in Connecticut, today made public independent laboratory results confirming low fluoride levels in TeaForHealth(TM) Green Tea and asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider endorsing a tea fluoride safety standard for consumer education.

Dr. Lee alerted the FDA that the American consumers and health care providers may need to know that some teas contain high levels of fluoride, pesticide residues or lead contaminants, potentially increasing health hazards to humans if ingested in excess. A recently reported case of tea fluoride intoxication discovered in St. Louis (Am J Med 2005;118:78-82) illustrates such potential health hazards.

Dr. Lee introduced a standard for typical green tea leaves to contain at least 7% natural (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in dry weight, which is currently under FDA review (Docket No. 2004Q-0083). Such typical green tea brewed in non-fluoridated water always meets the fluoride limit of 1.4 to 2.4 ppm adopted by the FDA for bottled water (codified at 21 CFR ss.165.110).

Suggested guidelines for pesticides and lead were outlined in a letter to Dr. Lester Crawford, acting commissioner for the FDA. Specific maximum allowable residues of lead for tea leaves should not exceed 5 ppm in dry weight, and comprehensive pesticide assays of tea leaves should show non-detectable pesticide levels by Organochlorine, Organophosphate/Organonitrogen and Carbamate screens. Dr. Lee also reported to the FDA that a random sample of the typical green tea drink prepared with Dr. Lee’s TeaForHealth contained only a low level of 0.25 ppm fluoride. The lead residue level in Dr. Lee’s TeaForHealth was 0.96 ppm in dry weight (US Pharmacopoeia, lead limit for herbal products is 10 ppm), and the comprehensive pesticide assays were negative.

Dr. Lee supports the FDA efforts outlined in the “Empowering Consumers for Better Health” policy initiative signed by the Acting Commissioner in September 2004. Health care professionals share the responsibility with the FDA to empower citizens with the tools they need to make informed choices about their health. Dr. Lee and his company, Fleminger, Inc. maintain an educational website, www.greenteahaus.com to disseminate evidence-based scientific information on the benefits of tea drinking, and another website, www.teaforhealth.com to offer the art and technology of drinking tea for health.