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Is There Weed Killer In Your Teas?

The OCA has filed a lawsuit in which they challenge the use of the words “all natural” on our teas based on finding trace amounts of the herbicide glyphosate on the dry leaf. The amount detected was significantly below (62% less) EPA standards. At these microscopic levels on the dry leaf, it does not transfer into a brewed cup of tea. Our continual testing has confirmed we have no glyphosate in a cup of Bigelow tea.

We continually work with our growers to ensure they limit the amount of application of anything used on the tea bushes. It is important to keep this significantly low amount that was detected on the dry leaf in context. For these minuscule trace levels that were reported by the OCA’s test, the source can come from many different means (airborne, rainwater, etc.). At such microscopic levels, you will not be able to determine the specific source. The important fact to know is that we continually test with third party independent certified labs to confirm that our products are safe. We ask you to not lose sight of the fact that there is no glyphosate in a cup of our tea.

For 75 years, our family has based our entire reputation on the quality of our products. We are saddened by the fact that we need to defend ourselves about something that does not exist in a cup of our tea. – Cindi Bigelow, CEO

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35 Responses to “Is There Weed Killer In Your Teas?”

  1. Lance Emrick writes:

    No. Hogwash. You cannot say you are limiting application of Glyphosate and then tell me it source is unknown. Any amount is significant, maybe not to you but it is very very significant to me and rest assured, Bigelow is off my shopping list unless you can decisively show me you are not reciting from the Gospel of Mon Satanic supplied with your Roundup Kit. You have just poisoned your reputation with this consumer and very little you can do will restore my confidence. Maybe you should join the lawsuit to sue your selves over the things You say that harm Your profits. Wether its in my tea or not, you use it irresponsibly. It goes in the environment. Have a dismal New Year.

  2. Bill writes:

    Looks like your reputation sucks now! I wouldn’t buy your crap now that it has poison on it

  3. Gary middleton writes:

    I wish you would stop spraying your tea with glyphosate rather than seeking to minimize the effects of the weed killer in you tea.
    Cumulatively, glyphosate levels accululate in the body , and is a known hormone disrupter.
    For example, – The EPA “safe” levels also don’t take into account the cumulative effect of exposure to glyphosate, which we know is found widely in both food and drinking water. Studies have shown that glyphosate bioaccumlates in the human body. Nor does the EPA differentiate between “safe” levels for adults vs. children. More background on glyphosate and human illness can be found here.

  4. Toby Glanville writes:

    Why not just go organic? As a customer I’d prefer no pesticide applications at all. There truly is no safe level of glyphosate (or any pesticide). Cancer rates continue to soar and I desperately want to avoid potential threats to my health.

  5. Bigelow Tea writes:

    Hi Toby,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and personal concerns. We do have a line of Organic tea called Steep which you can learn more about here:

    Thanks for your time,

    Bigelow Tea

  6. Gary middleton writes:

    I’m with you Toby.
    I prefer pesticide free tea for health reasons. Our environment is also suffering from chemical pollution- groundwater contamination, etc.
    There are so many good reasons to avoid glyphosate.

  7. Healthy tea drinker writes:

    You seem to be missing the point. If a consumer buys a natural product they expect it to be natural. Any pesticide that comes up from testing is not natural as it’s man made and applied by man. Not natural. You are misleading your customers and should face law suit. Furthermore, please do reasearch concerning glyphosate and you will find; among many other horrors that it builds up in your system from multiple doses. Such as was found in your tea leaves. This is terrible bisness practice. Do not try to mislead your customers. Fact – your teas have been found to contain levels of a known carcinogenic(as classified by the WHO) therefore your product is anything but natural!

  8. Leslie Ingham writes:

    If your company really does share our value of social responsibility, then no part of its production should go to supporting the chemical pesticides that are poisoning our land, water, and inevitably people. Even IF you were able to get the residual chemical contamination in the tea down to an undetectable level, by using Roundup at all, you are harming us all. This is a moment for Bigelow to blossom into a much finer product, with a more fiercely loyal following, just by taking the high road.

  9. Jacek R writes:

    Bigelow, you should be upset with Monsanto – BIG TIME! If their poison worked it’s way into your teas, regardless of the amount, you can better the global situation by publicly calling out Monsanto for their wrong doing. I hope you’re initiating a law suit against them. Are you? Do the right thing, Bigelow!

  10. Roy Kornbluh writes:

    I appreciate that you allow for dissenting comments on your own webpage. I also appreciate that you offer a line of organic tea. But the fact that you offer such teas and also carefully monitor for contaminates and encourage minimal application of toxic chemicals such as the herbicide glyphosate implies that you are aware of the risks to workers, watershed users, neighbors and the local environment even if the amount in your product is very low. The presumably lower cost of your non-organic products does not include the “true cost” when such factors are considered. So why not take the bold move of trying to eliminate the use of such chemicals completely (whether the tea is certified organic or not)? That would be a teabag that I would be even prouder to have my family name on. Thanks again for your openness on this issue.

  11. LAURA J PLOURDE writes:

    Haha Why would anyone try anything you put out, after this info has surfaced ? GTFO

  12. Marsha Kirzner writes:

    I no longer trust anything labelled natural. Bigelow should protect its name and go organic.

  13. Sarah Peacock writes:

    Unfortunately, I disagree that “miniscule trace levels” do not impact our health or environment. Small amounts add up with every food that we eat or product that we use and the dammage to our collective gut health and immune system is huge. How many people do I know with severe food sensitivities and auto-immune disorders? I for one, can not trust your brand any longer and will stick with companies that go purely organic.

  14. Marguerite writes:

    I am very sad that Monsanto is damaging your company and reputation.. Bigelow offered some of my favorite teas. However, I am fighting MS and can not take a chance on any contamination. Our household is emptying our cupboard of all Bigelow teas and replacing them with certified organic.

  15. Lucy Harmon writes:

    No wonder Sam’s Club was selling Bigelow organic green tea so cheap! I’m not drinking it and won’t put it in my compost. Can’t be to cautious about health of body or planet.

  16. Becky Hursh writes:

    EPA standards for glysophate of pesticides should be -0- to be all natural or organic. If it has ANY of this on the leaves it has to be transferred into the cup of tea. Meaning your tea is NOT All Natural!!

  17. Sharon Gill writes:

    I think of drinking tea as a healthy thing I do every day. I am disheartened to hear that glyphosate is ever, at any level, on the tea I drink. I also do not want it polluting our groundwater and killing out bees. Please, for your customers health, and the world we live in, ditch the Roundup. Thanks.

  18. Elle writes:

    Still not interested, no matter how tiny a company says the amount of glyphosate is. Don’t want it, won’t buy it. Think again Bigelow. No Poisonow in my tea.
    Serve this shit to your own families.

  19. Elizabeth writes:

    “62% less than EPA Standards” is still too much. EPA standards appears to be a very subjective term and they are not without controversy (nor above collusion), I would also prefer an organic tea from Bigelow. In the meantime, I will not purchase Bigelow Tea products until they change the misleading labeling AND elimination of glyphosate.

  20. Thomas Hruska writes:

    To Cindy Bigelow, so the implication you offer is that glyphosate is present from airborne and rainwater? How do you control your application of it on the field? Is it applied by rainwater or airborne? Or the etc instead ? Why is it applied ? Is it to dry the bush faster by killing it ? With your application process variables, and those of rainwater and airborne etc, how can you even believe you can control it ? By claiming airborne is culprit, you indicated that there’s other glyphosate out there that’s uncontrollable. Seems to me you stuck your foot in your proverbial mouth. I wonder which tea you drink in your home .
    The fact remains, that any plant containing any amount of pesticides or herbicide is NOT natural or all natural., no matter what the crooked EPA thinks or you think.

  21. Shona writes:

    I agree, Toby and Gary. And if Bigelow can put out a “line of Organic” why not go entirely Organic? Having just a “line” is simply throwing crumbs and gives me very little reassurance a company truly cares about its customers and the planet on which we live.

  22. Michael writes:

    Even the trace amounts you mention are UNACCEPTABLE. Our family stopped buying Bigelow because of this and we now have to buy an organic tea(not Bigelow)

  23. Kathy aleman writes:

    So your response is a little bit of poisen is Okay? When my company tested t they found many chemicals on natural tea that was from the water supply you must run testing on your tea leaves to call them natural if you wanted to meet anything and even on the Organics because they can also have pesticides and herbicides from the water supply.

  24. Gail Grivois writes:

    I do not doubt that your intentions are good, but the EPA has not been a true consumer advocate for many years and especially not with its current leadership because it depends too heavily on industries to set standards. Enough studies have shown that no amount of glyphosate is safe. If you do not want your children ingesting the stuff, then keep it out of your products entirely. Your name is on the product, so why not raise the quality of your products to the highest standard regardless of what is set by the EPA. Be part of the movement to improve the quality of food and beverages in America because you can and because you care.

  25. Patricia Nicholas writes:

    While in appreciate what you are saying, the fact remains that even a trace amount of glyphosate is, in fact, unnatural. The fish you eat only contains trace amounts of plastic, lead, mercury, etc, but over time, trace amounts accumulate in you. If your child only eats one lead paint chip, it would only contain trace amounts of lead, but if they do that every day for a year…you get the picture and do you really want to take that chance with your child? No, so lead paint is no longer on the market and requires special handling to remove. Exactly how are we going to remove the accumulated glyphosate and other poisons from the air, water, etc if companies like yours don’t demand purity in your products now, before it’s too late?
    I prefer to purchase from a company that chooses to use only proven organic resources and not fudge the truth. If you are jumping on the “all natural” bandwagon, the least you could do is be honest about it.

  26. Deborah writes:

    I think as consumers are becoming more aware of what is in our products, more people will be ditching brands that allow any amounts of pesticides in their products. A trace amount here…a trace amount there… and soon we are all dying of what these products cause – cancer. Sirelli’s study is very clear of the dangers on ingesting these products. The government agencies we think are there to help us are being run by ex employees of these companies that are poisoning us to line their own pockets. American’s are waking up to what is going on and in the next several years demand for organic products will increase.

  27. Mark Feuer writes:

    It’s nonsense to claim that glyphosate is present on the leaves at 38% of the EPA limit but zero is present in the steeped tea. Some of this herbicide is obviously getting into the tea – the question is how much? If you have actual information that the level in a cup of tea is below some value, you should share that actual test limit, as well as information about how often your tea is tested and how it is done. And if you have a meaningful program with your growers for continuous reduction of contaminants in the tea, complete information on this program should be public as well.

    I have enjoyed Bigelow tea for many years for its distinctive flavors, but in this era of lax standards, your company needs to step up with honest and transparent practices supporting the health of your customers and the environment at large.

  28. Mary Jo writes:

    Frankly I dont think the EPA should allow ANY % of glypghosate or any other pesticide anywhere on the planet they regulate. It’s bad for the planet and life in general, not just the tea I’m drinking. Sorry I wont be buying any more Constant Comment. Remember Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring? We’re closer than ever and that was just the beginning with DDT. Be in love with earth and dont use manmade pesticides and herbicides.

  29. Veronica Frierdich writes:

    I will never buy Bigelow tea again.

  30. Cory writes:

    Consumers are learning more about the harms of glyphosate every day. EPA standards are weak, at best (and likely won’t get better with current political conditions.) As a company you’d be wise to heed the wants and constructive criticism of many informed consumers and the OCA, who isn’t trying to to end your company but demanding that you either raise your standards or stop calling your products “natural.” Granted, many consumers aren’t informed about the dangers of glyphosate and will continue to buy your products, but the tides are changing. The larger issue is that your company is supporting tea growers that cause damaging environmental and health impacts.

    It’s a non sequitur to say that because the glyphosate levels are “microscopic” that it doesn’t transfer to brewed tea. If anything, it is probably more likely to transfer by being so small. Trace amounts of certain chemicals are certainly enough to cause harm. PPM and PPB (parts per million/parts per billion) are also microscopic. This doesn’t make them harmless.

    I always try to buy organic and I rarely buy organic products from companies that have token organic lines.

  31. Betty Troyer writes:

    By already having an organic tea on the market then apparently you must be aware of the dangers of glyphosate, so why not just go all organic? Why try to label a glyphosate laced tea as “all natural” ? I personally prefer no pesticides for health reasons. There truly is no safe level of pesticides.

  32. Emily S writes:

    I agree that Bigelow should go all organic- I don’t think that you can say that pesticides on a dry lead have no affect on brewed tea- chemicals will find their way as Monsanto’s poison has permeated our food supply. Bigelow should take a stand and be a company leader in speaking out against pesticides that cause a variety of health concerns, especially when tea is thought to be such a healthy, natural beverage in general.

  33. Emily S writes:

    Sorry, I meant to say leaf instead of lead above!

  34. t foley writes:

    I drink Bigelow tea everyday, FYI, ANYTHING on the dried leaf will become part of the brewed cup of tea. I will follow this story and will resume buying Bigelow Tea AFTER you become really “all natural”. Unfortunately there are many hormone disrupters in our environment, I can’t risk adding any more to my food intake. Sorry.

  35. Lisa writes:

    It is concerning that Bigelow does not want to take action to correct their wrongdoing, but instead chooses to back-pedal. If you cannot provide proper evidence to OCA as well as all concerned customers, the end result will be customers choosing with their dollar. Will reduced sales then make you take action?