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J Environ Radioact. 2018 Dec;192:75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

Radionuclides in tea and their behaviour in the brewing process.

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State-Laboratory Basel-City, Kannenfeldstrasse 2, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:
State-Laboratory Basel-City, Kannenfeldstrasse 2, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Tea plantations may be strongly affected by radioactive fallout. Tea plantations on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea were heavily contaminated by the fallout from the reactor fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. Two years later, the contamination level was reduced by about 90%. When tea is brewed, the original contamination in the tea leaves is more or less leached into the tea water. While most of the radiocaesium (60-80%) is washed out by brewing, most of the radiostrontium remains in the leaves (70-80%). In food laws, a dilution factor of 40-50 is considered for tea brewing. Most laws only define limit values for radiocaesium. Radiostrontium is not specially regulated, even though its dose coefficients for ingestion are higher than the corresponding coefficients for radiocaesium. Radiostrontium in tea occurs primarily from global fallout (bomb tests from 1945-1965).


Brewing process; Dose estimation; Radiocaesium; Radiostrontium; Tea

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