A lot of us take a casual sip out of the garden hose or drench ourselves (and others) using it during playful summer moments. We might even let Fido have a quick drink from the stream. But the truth is, these casual activities may be more dangerous than we think. The materials used in garden hose manufacture often leach toxic chemicals into the water—chemicals that include lead.
Lead is often used in garden hose manufacturing because it is used as a stabilizer for the other chemicals in hose production. It can also be found in the brass fittings most garden hoses use.
While this may not seem like cause for alarm initially—the truth is that a fair number of things around us have lead, after all—think again. Recent studies have shed some light on just how much lead many of the hoses being sold on the market may contain.
Unsafe Lead Content in Hoses
The Ecology Center at Ann Arbor, for instance, has been running tests on garden hoses for years. In one of its latest results, it discovered that 30% of hoses tested positive for lead at levels above the standard prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for children.
As a matter of fact, garden hoses are not the only culprits. The Ecology Center’s test also discovered that more than 70% of all the gardening implements it tested—there were 179 of these—contained high amounts of toxic chemicals.
Do All Garden Hoses Contain Lead
There are ways around this, of course. The first and easiest would be to invest in a new, safer hose. There are FDA-approved garden hoses that are actually labeled as drink-safe. This is because these have fittings plated in nickel (which is lead-free) and are also crafted out of materials with zero lead. This is a good investment for those serious about the health of their families and lawns.
Some of the best lead-free hoses include many hoses from Camco which make many different lead and BPA free hoses in many different lengths. There are of course other good brands that are also safe to drink from. You can see some of the best garden hoses here.
Users stuck with lead-containing PVC hoses will have to be extra careful when using them. Hands should be washed thoroughly after touching such hoses and children kept away from them. These hoses are also best stored in a closet or a shady spot to keep them away from the effects of the sun—the heat can make the lead and other toxins in the PVC more prone to leaching into the water.
Can you Drink Our of a Garden Hose that is Lead-Free?
Users should be sure not to drink any water from standard hoses. That means keeping them away from “organic garden patches” and the pets too, of course. Most “run-of-the-mill” hoses contain lead or other chemicals that are not safe to drink from.
If you do buy a potable water hose, meaning one that has no lead in it, is free from chemicals that can leech into the water, and uses nickel-coated fittings then you should be free to drink from them. These special potable water hoses are safe.
Keep a Non-Toxic Water Hose Wherever Your Kids and Pets Play
My last parting tip is to always keep a high quality non-toxic leader hose close to your kids play area or your dog kennel.
It doesn’t make sense to replace all of your long lawn hoses with potable water hoses but all the short hoses close by should be safe for drinking water.