Getting a new garden hose for Summer?

Many of us use hoses to water our gardens, fill our dogs’ water bowls, and fill pools. And in summer months, kids playing outdoor will often drink from the hose. What you may not know is that many hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride, which uses lead as a stabilizer. A 2007 Consumer Reports Study tested 16 hoses:

  • 4 were labeled safe for drinking
  • 6 had warning labels
  • 6 weren't labeled

All of the hoses leached some lead but the ’safe’ hoses leached no more lead than would be found in drinking water. Two hoses leached 10 to 100 times the allowable lead levels.

And then a second investigation by ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix  looked at 10 garden hoses picked up at local stores and found similar results. "Five of the 10 hoses came back with levels of lead higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency allows for drinking water: 15 parts per billion. Four of those came back with extremely high lead levels."

So, when you buy a hose, choose one labeled 'safe for drinking.' And even with a safe hose, flush out any water that has been sitting for awhile by letting the water run for a minute or so before you drink.