Spring means many of you are enjoying gardening at home and the added benefit of being able to grow your own fruits and veggies without added pesticides and chemicals. But have you considered what is in the garden hose that you use? 

High levels of toxic lead and pthalates are found in many commonly used garden hoses. A study in the US by the Ecology Center found that in a sample of 90 different kinds of garden hoses, 30% of them contained levels of lead that were well over the set limit for what is allowed in children’s products (upwards of 100 parts per million). Not surprisingly, most of these hoses produced water samples that are not up to the set standards for drinking water. While there is inadequate research about how much of this lead is being transferred into the soil and directly into what you grow in your garden, it is worth the switch to try to find a natural rubber hose. About half of the vinyl (PVC) hoses were found to contain electronic waste (e-waste) chemicals within the vinyl.

A more recent study looked at lead, cadmium, phthalates, bromine, PVC plastic, antimony, and tin both in the hoses and the water samples from those hoses. You can find the research findings here.

When purchaseing your garden hose, look for a lead-free, PVC-free, drinking water safe hose, but better yet check the findings of the research to be sure the hose you choose will not be adding harmful chemicals and heavy metals to your organic produce. If unable to change out your hose right away, adapt the way that you use the hose that you currently have. You can do this by allowing your hose to run for a few minutes before use in order to expel water that has been sitting in it and also by storing the hose in the shade, as the heat from the sun will increase leaching of any chemicals. Lastly, avoid drinking directly from the hose- something important to consider regarding the little ones when playing outside in the hot summer months!

Visit this website for more information and ratings of available garden hoses for chemical content rated low to high.