Lead in Garden Hoses: what you need to know

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?

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).  Samples also contained fire retardants and pthalates.  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 or polyurathane hose (look for ones labelled “Lead Free” or “Drinking Water Safe”), or 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 a list of brands that sell lead and PVC free hoses.

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Dr. Angela Kirk ND

Dr. Angela Kirk ND

Dr. Angela Kirk ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a clinical focus on environmental & family medicine, preconception, pregnancy, and pediatrics.