I am careful about eliminating the chemicals in my yard and home. Admittedly, though, I had not been thinking about the chemicals that could be coming out of my garden hose. Water-quality, sure, but not the hose itself. That is until I stumbled across the Ecology Center’s 2016 Hose Report.
The Ecology Center tested 32 hoses from 6 retailers and found high levels of lead, phthalates, flame retardants, and BPA in most garden hoses. Such chemicals can cause birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births, and hormone disruption, among other serious health problems. Which means your hose could be harming your family or pets. Imagine having a great organic garden, yet spraying your vegetables and soil with high levels of dangerous chemicals every time you water.
Here are some “lowlights” of the 2016 Hose Report:
- Metal fittings on the hoses were often high in lead.
- Hoses are often made of PVC (vinyl). PVC hoses are much more likely to contain heavy metals, flame retardants, and phthalates. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, causing problems to human reproductive development, and possibly liver cancer.
- Recycled electronic waste is in a number of PVC hoses, resulting in high levels of bromine (a flame retardant), lead, antimony, and tin.
- Several hoses labeled “Drinking water safe” still had high levels of phthalates, an endocrine disruptor.
“Gardening hoses appear to be a dumping ground for highly contaminated e-waste. Over one-third [38%] of the hoses have the fingerprint of recycled e-waste being used,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director, HealthyStuff.org. “Products designed to handle water should never have e-waste material used as filler just to save a dime.”
Yikes. All of these chemicals will leach into water. Leaching increases if the hose has sat in the sun. While it is a good idea to keep a hose out of the sun and to run it for a bit before you use the water, the best option is to find a safe hose.
How to find a safe hose
The FDA does not regulate hose safety. To find a new hose that does not contain any of these chemicals, look for labels that say Lead-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free, and BPA-free. Food-grade polyurethane or rubber hoses are generally safe, though the metal ends could still contain lead. Look for labels that say Lead-free. A label that reads “lead-free couplings” is not enough, as the flexible hose part could contain lead. The label, “Drinking water safe”, is not safe enough as the hose could still contain phthalates.
Eartheasy makes a safe-to-drink-from, lightweight hose, that is 100% Lead-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free, and BPA-free. Update 8/2016. I have used this Eartheasy hose all summer and I love it. It is lightweight–extremely easy to move around. And it gives me peace of mind. To find it, click on Eartheasy.com or the banner ad below. It turns out that there is an easy fix for a toxic hose.
Your purchase from Eartheasy will help support Green Garden Buzz at no cost to you. Thank you!