The Danger That May Be Lurking in Your Garden

The Danger That May Be Lurking In Your Garden

( – Many of us used garden hoses during summer play as kids. Now as adults, we use those same gadgets to water our yards or perhaps satisfy our thirst on a hot day. But researchers say that seemingly innocent garden hoses could be dangerous to our health. Learn why and how to avoid the potential hazards.

Researchers Find Dangers in Popular Garden Hoses

The Ecology Center has analyzed more than 200 garden hoses since 2011. The tests evaluated the hoses from popular retailers in the United States for dangerous substances, such as hazardous metals.

The researchers discovered elevated levels of lead, bromine, antimony, and phthalates in PVC hoses. Those high levels of dangerous chemicals were not in non-PVC hoses.

Additional studies analyzed local drinking water that remained in PVC hoses for two days and compared the results to tap water. The water in the hoses was contaminated with phthalates, BPA, and lead. None of those contaminants were in the water taken directly from taps.

The potential dangers associated with the toxic chemicals found in PVC garden hoses include possible carcinogens from antimony, hormone disruption from phthalates, and obesity from BPA. In addition, lead in drinking water is linked to high blood pressure, kidney function issues, and reproductive problems.

Should You Stop Watering Your Garden with a Hose?

The results of these tests don’t mean that you need to stop watering your garden with a hose. But the researchers do recommend checking the label before you buy a new product.

Experts advise purchasing a non-PVC hose, such as one made of polyurethane, rather than a PVC garden hose. If the hose will be used to water vegetables or other foods, look for a PVC-free hose labeled “drinking water safe.”

Non-PVC garden hoses labeled “drinking water safe” had much lower levels of contaminants in the analyses. Seek out that same label if kids will be playing with water from the hose. Polyurethane hoses that do not contain the “drinking water safe” label may contain lead in the metal pieces.

In addition to purchasing non-PVC hoses labeled “drinking water safe,” experts recommend letting the water run for at least 5 seconds before using the hose in your garden or letting kids play. Keep the hoses in the shade. Hot weather causes plastic additives to leach into the water.

Is It Safe to Drink Water From a Garden Hose?

Since childhood, many of us have gotten in the habit of sipping water from a garden hose, especially on hot days. But the results of the studies show that habit may be hazardous to our health.

Hoses with “drinking water safe” labels did not have high levels of lead, bromine, antimony, or tin. But some of them did contain phthalates.

Phthalates may impact children’s development. In addition, the phthalate Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is categorized as an endocrine disruptor that may result in cancer. Because of these factors, experts advise against sipping water from a garden hose.

Hot summer days may seem ideal for watering our vegetable gardens or letting kids enjoy water play. By using PVC-free hoses labeled “drinking water safe” and storing hoses in the shade, we can enjoy those activities safely. As for actually sipping water from that hose? We may want to use Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous lines from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as a guide: “Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.”

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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