Explore Coverage

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Buy Organic – Conventional Tea Contains Illegal and Highly Toxic Pesticides

While we constantly hear about the tremendous health benefits of drinking tea, one thing that almost never gets mentioned in this message is just how critical it is to drink organic tea.

In a recently released report called Tea Steeped in Toxics, the excellent non-profit Beyond Pesticides gives us an inside look at what is going on in the tea industry. Needless to say, what they uncover is very ugly and very scary.

Here are some highlights of the report:

* The FDA consistently finds that imported tea contains high levels of illegal pesticide residues. These include: permethrin (which is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption), DDE (a metabolite of DDT, which was banned in the U.S. in 1972), heptachlor epoxide (a derivative of the pesticide heptachlor, which was banned in the U.S. due to its carcinogenicity), and acetamiprid (a bee-toxic neonicotoid).

* Until mid-2016, the EPA will continue to allow the importation of tea from China which contains a banned pesticide tea called endosulfan, a chemical that the EPA has said “poses unacceptable risks” to farm workers and wildlife. Additionally, tests on laboratory animals have shown that endosulfan is toxic to the nervous system and can damage the kidney, liver and male reproductive organs.

* There are very weak regulations and a serious lack of enforcement in China and India, two of the major tea producers in the world.

Pesticide residues on tea from India include DDT, which has been banned since 1989 in India, and endosulfan, which was banned in the country as well in 2011. Furthermore, many pesticides which have been found on Indian tea are either illegal or have never been registered.

In China, the situation is equally as grim. Tests have detected 29 different pesticides, including reproductive and developmental toxicants, bee-killing chemicals, and banned pesticides.

* A 2014 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the FDA tests less than 1/10 of 1% of all imported foods. When it comes to tea, this is especially problematic for two reasons.

One, nearly everything is imported because there is almost no U.S. production of tea.

Two, tea consistently receives incredibly high violation rates from the FDA’s Pesticide Monitoring Program. So, we know that that whatever tea gets imported, there is a decent chance it won’t meet U.S. standards.

For a variety of reasons outlined in the report, this is a complex problem that cannot be easily solved, largely because of a lack of funds, weak regulations and enforcement in developing countries, and poor communication between trade nations.

The bottom line is this: Drinking organic tea is an absolute must.

Organic tea prohibits the use of these super-toxic pesticides mentioned above, and organic certifiers verify that growers are in compliance with organic systems management plans, which protect both farmworkers and the environment.

There are many, many excellent organic tea brands on the market and by no means is this a comprehensive list of all of them. However, a few that I like are:

Runa Tea – guayusa contains twice the amount of antioxidants of green tea, and the company is doing some amazing work raising the standard of living in Ecuadorian communities.

Republic of Tea – this Biodynamic blend offers great flavor, and the turmeric and cinnamon combination provides excellent anti-inflammatory benefits.

Numi Tea – this soothing and calming combination uses South African rooibos along with real vanilla beans, sweet honeybush and rich cacao.

A message from E3Live

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

Go deeper

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

The Mystery Behind Organic Honey

One question has been really bothering me as of late: Is there such a thing as USDA certified organic honey?

Despite the picture you see above, there is good reason for me to have serious doubt.  Here is why.

In the past, I have spoken to numerous local beekeepers and when I asked them if their honey is organic, they have all told me that there is no such thing as USDA certified organic honey.

Yet when I go to the market, I see one or two brands of honey that have the USDA organic seal on the label. Almost all of the honey that has the seal on it comes from Brazil, which has made me wonder whether there is some type of corruption going on with the certification.

Go deeper Arrow

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic — Protect Your Gut Health

Over the last few years, it has been a widely viewed belief among the medical community that the health of the bacteria in our bodies has a direct relationship to our overall health.

While the exact nature of the bacteria in our bodies still remains a big mystery, research is showing that certain bacteria can prevent and treat many common diseases.

More specifically, in tests with mice, bacteria played an important role in fighting cancer.

Go deeper Arrow

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Pure Rooms – Setting a New Standard for Healthy Traveling

For those of us who are extremely committed to health and wellness, the reality is that maintaining this lifestyle is very difficult when traveling.

At home, we have much greater control over our environment, but we lose that control when we go on the road, regardless of how aesthetically pleasing the living conditions may be.

Fortunately, the world is starting to change, and there are now businesses entirely focused on meeting the needs of the wellness-minded traveler.

One such company that I recently discovered is Pure Wellness, whose main offering is a Pure Room — a hotel room unlike anything I have seen before.

Go deeper Arrow
livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink