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Banned Pesticides Found in Popular Chinese Tea Brands
A Greenpeace investigation has found pesticides banned for use on tea in the products marketed by some of China's top tea companies. Some of the firms, which include China Tea, Tenfu Tea and China Tea King, export tea products to Japan, the U.S. and Europe.
In December 2011 and January 2012, Greenpeace bought 18 tea products from nine tea companies in China. The tea products, including green tea, oolong tea and jasmine tea, were purchased from stores located in Beijing, Chengdu and Haikou. The prices were between RMB120 (about 19 U.S. Dollars) and RMB2000 (about 318 U.S. Dollars) per kilogram.
"Seven of those firms are among China's Top 10 tea sellers, and they are all selling tea tainted with banned pesticides. It's a huge embarrassment for China's tea industry," said Wang Jing, Greenpeace Food and Agriculture campaigner.
Independent testing conducted by an accredited lab found that 12 of the 18 samples contained at least one pesticide banned for use on tea, such as methomyl and endosulfan.1
"These companies have failed both their domestic and international consumers," added Wang Jing. "You don't know how many people—and for how long—have unknowingly been drinking toxic pesticides in their tea."
The testing also found that all 18 tea samples contained at least three pesticides, with 17 pesticides found in the worst sample. A total of 14 samples were found to have pesticides that may affect fertility, harm an unborn child or cause heritable genetic damage.
China is the world's biggest producer of tea, and it is also the world's biggest user of pesticides. China's Ministry of Agriculture says it aims to reduce nationwide pesticide use in 2015 by 20 percent2, and has expanded its coverage of green pest management of vegetables, fruits and tea.
"Large tea producers have every reason to take action immediately and reduce pesticide use substantially," added Wang Jing. "They know how to solve this problem, but they must take action now."
Greenpeace demands China's tea companies stop the use of highly toxic pesticides altogether, drastically reduce the use of pesticides, and establish an effective traceability and supply chain control system that ensures the reduction of pesticide use and its compliance with the law.
- Read the full report, Pesticides: Hidden Ingredients in Chinese Tea, by clicking here.
For more information, click here.
1. Methomyl and endosulfan are banned for use on tea according to Announcement No.1586 issued by China's Ministry of Agriculture on June 15, 2011.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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