Abstract Background. Epidemiological evidence points to a cancer protective role of green-yellow-orange vegetables and fruits. The involvement of teas as a protective factor in carcinogenesis has not received the attention it seems to merit. To gain relevant information, attempts were made to stimulate in vitro those conditions to which human groups are actually exposed. Methods. The inhibitory effects of infusions of Chinese, Japanese, and Ceylonese teas were examined by adding them to a nitrosation mixture consisting of 0.8 mg sodium nitrite and 340 mg equivalent of a widely consumed salt-preserved fish (Pak Wik) and estimating the frequency of mutants in TA 1535 strain of Salmonella typhimurium. Results. The tea samples exhibited a strong inhibitory effect at concentrations that are actually ingested by man. A comparable inhibition was obtained by several tea phenolics. A second series of experiments dealt with the formation of nitrosoproline (NPRO) which can be strongly inhibited in vitro by the tea infusions and tea phenolics. The effects of the tea infusions and caffeic acid on the endogeneous formation of NPRO in man were examined by having volunteers ingest 300 mg sodium nitrate and 30 min later 300 mg proline, collecting urine samples over a 24-hr period, and estimating the excreted NPRO. The tested teas, at doses regularly consumed, again exerted a strong inhibitory effect on endogeneous NPRO formation in humans. Comparable inhibitory effects were obtained by ingesting caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, or ferulic acid with the nitrosation mixture. Conclusions. These results indicate that the simultaneous intake of teas with food products that are being nitrosated within the stomach of human subjects should exert a protective, beneficial effect.