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Harmful Chemicals May be Lurking in Your Garden Hose, Report Says

| Friday May 4th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Spring time is pretty much here and this is when a lot of people indulge in gardening. But did you know that there are a lot of chemicals that may be harmful to your health in your gardening supplies?

According to Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, high amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after it sat outside in the sun for just a few days.

Nearly 200 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).

“Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center. “The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses, and non-PVC tools and work gloves, are all better choices.”

The results of the finding was released on www.HealthyStuff.org and here are some of the highlights:

  • 30 percent of all the products tested contained over 100 ppl lead in one or more component. 100 ppm is the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard (CPSC) for lead in children’s products.
  • 100 percent of the garden hoses sampled for phthalates contained four phthalate plasticizers which are currently banned in children’s products.
  • Two water hoses contained the hazardous flame retardant 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH).

However the results of what was of even greater concern. Water sampled from one hose contained eighteen times higher than the federal drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/l. BPA levels found also exceeded federal limits and so was the phthalate DEHP.

According to the study, consumers should buy hoses that are ‘drinking water safe’ and ‘lead-free.’  They also suggest to let the hose run for a few seconds before using it, since the water that has been sitting in the hose will have the highest levels of chemicals. Apart from this, storing the hose in the shade might prevent the leaching of chemicals into the water. Buying a PVC-free hose might also be a good option. Finally they advice not drinking from the hose unless you know it is drinking water safe.

“Gardening products, including water hoses, are completely unregulated and often fail to meet drinking water standards that apply to other products, yet again demonstrating the complete failure of our federal chemicals regulatory system,” said Gearhart. “Our children will never be safe until we reform our laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves.”

All this means no more drinking out of the garden hose and what fun is summer without that?

Photo Credit: GuillaumeG, Wikimedia Commons 


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