I think you have valid concern about what goes into your cup. I'm really glad that people are waking up and questioning what actually goes into their bodies. As a zealous health nut, I assure you that you have nothing to worry about in regards to tea (at least Adagio tea, not sure about others).
The farmers that Adagio gets the tea from have been more and more using safer pesticides which do not transfer to your cup. These are effective pesticides that keep the tea leaves protected while they grow and also dissipate/get burned off during the brewing process.
Whenever you read sensationalist articles about how you should worry about tea that comes from abroad, they skew the facts. High level of pesticides found on tea leaves is rare, and even so, these pesticides do not get transferred to your cup. Unless you plan on munching on the dry leaves, you have nothing worry about
There is only a small number of pesticides that the Food and Drug Administration bans outright. For all others, the FDA has established a level below which effects to the human body are negligible. All of our farmers adhere to these rules. No worries.
From an earlier post by Michael:
What is the industry doing to reduce this number further? While lowering the amount of pesticide applied, and developing tea varieties better suited to naturally ward off pests, tea growers have also been switching to pesticides with a low water solubility (an ability to dissolve in water). The confluence of these efforts is producing teas that are analogous in their health properties to those grown organically. Organic farming continues to be better for the environment. As far as your health is concerned, the differences are negligible.
What may explain the queasiness your feel after drinking tea? The likely culprit is caffeine. Having the enviable task of sampling every tea selected for sale at Adagio, I often time consume more than 20 cups a day. I find that doing this with white or green varieties, which are low in caffeine, suits my stomach better than doing the same with black tea. So if queasiness continues to be an issue, I suggest forgoing black tea, and opting for those that are either lower or devoid of caffeine.
I have also taken the liberty of attaching a scientific article which analyzed pesticides in tea. The conclusion of this study is:
It may be concluded that the mere presence of
pesticide residues in made tea does not necessarily
mean that the tea has become toxic and would pose a
health hazard. The present study revealed that only a
negligible or small percentage of pesticides in made tea
is being transferred to the infusion. Further, the extent
of pesticide leaching depends on its water solubility,
partition coefficient, and the brewing time.
Since the pesticides used by our farmers are water soluble, they pose no risk to you.
Now of course it is better to have organic tea. I buy all my food organic, or at least try to, but tea is different. I've tried the organic tea samples that farmers send us and not only are they very expensive but they also do not taste good. I don't know why this is, perhaps the process of growing tea organically hasn't evolved yet to the point where the tea meets our taste-bud needs. We after all have very high standards for how our tea tastes.
I suggest you stop worrying and relax
Get some loose leaf tea and some teaware to brew and drink the tea. UtiliTEA is a great kettle but you'll also need an infuser. I prefer the Jumbo cup & Infuser but there are other options. Once you have everything, check out my 'Way of Tea' article on TeaMuse about how to really get more out of your drinking experience. And enjoy!
Welcome to the club.