Are you watering your garden with lead and phthalates?

Garden hoses can leach nasty toxic chemicals, photo by Emillian Robert Vicol, flickr

Garden hoses can leach nasty toxic chemicals, photo by Emillian Robert Vicol, flickr

As an avid backyard organic gardener, I always have my eye out for things to help me improve how I garden and how to live a more healthy lifestyle. So when I came across an article about how garden hoses leach toxic chemicals, I was a bit stunned. Though I generally water my garden by hand and/or with drip lines, I do use the hose to water other things around my yard, and to fill my dog’s outside water dish. This article is definitely a wake-up call.

Kevin Hurst, assistant manager of Lee Valley Tools in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said most people don’t read the fine print when they pick out a hose.

“On the back here, [there’s] a warning, ‘this product contains one or more chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects.”

Garden hoses aren’t meant to be put in a child’s mouth, said  Gideon Foreman, the Toronto, Ontario based executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “They’re not meant to be drunk from … they’re not regulated, and there is some danger that the chemicals in the hose, just like other plastics, can leach,” he said.

Boy Drinking Water from Garden Hose

Lead-free hoses are a safer bet for your kids and your veggies

A non-profit research group in the U.S. called The Ecology Center decided to study which chemicals might be leaching into water being ingested by kids and sprayed on fruit and vegetable gardens.

Last year it tested 21 brands and models of hoses. Lead researcher Jeff Gearhart said they found a range of chemicals, including lead, leaching from those hoses.

“The level of phthalate plasticizers that leached into the water [were] four times higher than drinking water standards, and bisphenol A (BPA), which is another chemical we’re worried about, was 20 times higher than drinking water standards that are commonly used to measure water safety.”

You can read the entire article here. And be sure to check out the recommendations as to what type of hose is safer to use, especially now that we’re moving into summer’s heat. Keeping our kids safe and our gardens as chemical free as possible is a wise choice.

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