“No blood lead level has been found to be safe for a child,”~ Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of the lead poisoning prevention branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"Garden hoses are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which monitors the nation's public drinking supply."
If you are not sure, and you use your garden hose to water your vegetables and fill up your pet's water dishes and your children's pool, you may want to look for a garden hose that specifically states it's lead-free. It turns out some garden hoses contain dangerous levels of lead. And yes that includes hoses purchased at places like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target and Ace Hardware.
"Hoses tend to be made of PVC, which is a dirty plastic, and lead is used as a stabilizer in that plastic. Lead is a potent neurotoxin. There is no amount of lead that's safe for a child. They create a public health risk to children. They put children at risk for brain damage, developmental disabilities and a host of other very serious problems."" said Charlie Pizarro, associate director at the Center for Environmental Health
And the risk isn't just with lead. A new study found that in addition to dangerous levels of lead, many garden hoses also contain phthalates and hazardous flame retardants.
Advocacy group the Ecology Center just released a new 2016 study that shows many plastic garden and yard water hoses contain high levels of toxic lead and phthalate chemicals. The new research discovered that half of the PVC hoses tested contained electronic waste (e-waste) vinyl contaminated with toxic chemicals.
The researchers tested 32 garden hoses from six national retailers, including The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon, for lead, cadmium, phthalates, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants), PVC, antimony and tin (indicating oganotins). Water from select hoses was also tested. Such chemicals, said a press release announcing the study’s results, have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, and hormone disruption among other serious health problems.
It appears the main ways to be exposed to lead is through the environment, and through goods we purchase. Have you thought of that garden in your backyard? Are you positive the organic edibles you just purchased are free of heavy metals?
Some are not aware that if lead, a heavy metal neurotoxin, is in soil it can be in every aspect of the vegetation growing in that soil. The study did find that the fruits or vegetables will have the lowest amount of lead in comparison with the roots which would be highest in lead, however again as lead builds up in the body and as we know there are no safe levels of lead, we need to be aware if we are consuming foods grown in lead contaminated soils.
Find the right hose
Examples of the worst products include:
- The Home Depot retailed HDX 15ft Utility Hose containing phthalate plasticizers and 6.8% (68,000 parts per million) lead
- Walmart retailed Swan Hose Reel Leader 5/8 in x 6 ft Hose containing phthalate plasticizers and 0.52% (5,200 parts per million) lead
- Lowes retailed Apex NeverKink 5/8 in x 50 ft containing a mixture of chemical hazards commonly associated with e-waste: phthalate plasticizers, lead (366 ppm), antimony (1,779 ppm) and bromine (1,592 ppm)
Top rated hoses were all polyurethane hoses. Big Boss AquaStream Ultra Light; Pocket Hose Dura-Rib II; Room Essentials Coil Hose with Multi Pattern Nozzle; Water Right Professional Coil Garden Hose.
Highlights of Findings
- PVC (vinyl) hoses frequently contained elevated lead, bromine, antimony, and phthalates in the flexible hose part. Non-PVC hoses did not contain these contaminants.
- 29% of the PVC hoses (7 of 24) contained at least 100 ppm and as high as 68,000 ppm lead.
- Bromine >1000 ppm and antimony >500 ppm were found in 50% of PVC hoses.Recycled electronic waste vinyl was found in a number of PVC hoses, resulting in high levels of bromine (indicating brominated flame retardants), lead, antimony, and tin (indicating organotin stabilizers).
- BPA and lead were found to leach from the hoses into water.
What Was Found in the Water
- Half of the hoses (3 of 6) whose water was tested contained lead. Three of the samples contained 13, 19, and 20 ppb lead, respectively. The EPA action level for drinking water is 15 ppb.
- Lead was not detected in the water from the drinking-water-safe hose tested.
- BPA as high as 87 ppb was found in two of the hose water samples.
- A previous study found the phthalate DEHP at 25 ppb in one sample of hose water, which is four times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water at 6 ppb.
- Lead Levels Of Edibles Grown In Contaminated Residential Soils; A Field Survey
Lisa Geng got her start as a designer, patented inventor,and creator in the fashion, toy, and film industries, but after the early diagnosis of her young children she entered the world of nonprofit, pilot studies, and advocacy. As the mother of two “late talkers,” she is the founder and president of the nonprofit CHERAB Foundation,co-author of the acclaimed book, The Late Talker, (St Martin’s Press 2003), and is instrumental in the development of IQed, a whole food nutrition meal replacement. Lisa currently serves as a parent advocate on an AAN board for vaccines, and is a member of CUE through Cochrane US. Lisa is currently working on a second book, The Late Talker Grows Up and serves as a Late Talkers, Silent Voices executive producer. She lives on the Treasure Coast of Florida.