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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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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