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Toxicol Lett. 2003 Jan 31;137(1-2):111-20.

Aluminium and fluoride contents of tea, with emphasis on brick tea and their health implications.

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Department of Biology, Institute for Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.


Tea plant takes up a large quantity of aluminium (Al) and fluoride (F) from acidic soils. It has been known that fluorosis can be developed for people who consume a large quantity of tea made from brick tea, a low quality tea consisting mainly of old tea leaves in China. In addition, it has been claimed that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is linked with the Al content in the human brain. Therefore, the high Al content in tea, especially brick tea is also a concern. This article reviews the basis background on tea including classification, growth conditions, types of tea leaves and their production, and processing of tea. Special emphasis is made on the transfer of Al and F from soil to tea plant and then to tea liquor. Health implications of drinking a large quantity of tea liquor especially those made from brick tea are discussed. Recommendations are suggested to reduce the uptake of these two elements by tea plant, and lower their contents in tea products.

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