The warmer weather is bringing out the garden hoses for watering, sprinklers, and washing cars. One thing these hoses shouldn’t be used for is drinking. Those drinking out of conventional hoses could be taking in heavy metals and plasticizers along with that water.
HealthyStuff.org, a Michigan-based Ecology Center, did a test in 2013 to find research this topic. They took 21 brand new garden hoses from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and Kmart and analyzed the level of heavy metals and other dangerous substances found in garden hoses. A majority of the hoses tested were made of polyvinyl chloride. This toxic plastic often contains endocrine-disrupting stabilizers, organotins, which can interfere with hormonal and reproductive development. A third of the hoses tested were found to have these chemicals. More than half of the hoses contained antimony. With prolonged exposure this can lead to kidney and liver damage.
Five hoses were picked at random by the researchers and sampled for phthalates, which is a class of chemicals added to PVC to keep it flexible. They have been linked to hormonal imbalances, lowered IQ, and other problems in children. The results: all five contained phthalates. One of the hoses contained as much as 18 percent phthalates by weight. Although conventional garden hoses shouldn’t be used for humans to drink from, they are fine when used for sprinklers and car washing.
Those with children who might sneak a drink from the hose should look for garden hoses with heavy-duty nickel connections, 50 percent recycled materials, and NSF and FDA grade materials.
If homeowners need a place to connect those hoses, contact All Star Plumbing and Restoration. They can install hosebibs in the front and backyards for easy hose hook-up. Additional hosebibs can make it easier to use two hoses at once in the yard, fill up the dog’s water bowl and the kiddie pool on warm afternoons or make it easier to water flowers.