Don’t drink from the hose!! Of course, who didn’t do this as a kid? Who has not run through the sprinkler? Well, as it turns out, the entire time, we were being exposed to lead. Not until recently was it made public that lead is a staple in garden hoses. Look at the package of virtually any hose and you will see a warning stating something like “NOT INTENDED FOR DRINKING WATER” or “DO NOT DRINK FROM HOSE.” Other warnings include “wash hands after use” and some recommend wearing gloves while handling the hose.
ABC and Consumer Reports did a test on 10 different hoses and found levels of lead 10 to 100 greater than the allowable EPA standards. Lead as you likely know, is extemely dangerous and can lead to irreversible brain damage and other health issues.
That makes me want to run out and play with the hose, water my garden, run through the sprinkler and take a long cold drink of water from it.
Our children are most vulnerable since they are so small and are more affected as many toys they gum, the tubs they bath in, etc. may also contain trace or excessive amounts of lead.
The good news is, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your children.
1. Avoid brass fittings. They can also leach lead into the water.
2. Read the package before you buy. If it says “do not drink” then do not buy.
3. If you do have a hose tainted with lead, take care in its use. Do not use it to drink from, fill the pool or water plants that will be a food source or plants near a food source.
4. Keep the hose away from the reach of children.
5. Store the hose in a cooler place (apparently leaving in the sun makes the leaching worse).
6. Flush the hose before each use.
7. Buy a drinking water safe hose. They are surprisingly not much more expensive than traditional hoses, I am talking a few dollars in most cases. Look for hoses for marine and camper use.
Drinking Water Safe Hoses
EZ-Coil-n-Store Drinking Water Hose