What Should I Do?

Green Water Hose

Don’t Get Hosed by Chemical Contamination

Your garden hose can be toxic to your health
Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 6:03 PM

When buying water storage equipment and containers, our customers are always concerned about the quality of the container and what is best for storing water for long periods of time.  Some typical questions we get are: Will the container leach chemicals into the water? Are these containers BPA free?

At The Ready Store, we offer the highest quality containers made of FDA-approved, food-safe, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and food safe plastics, and our containers are always free of BPA (bisphenol-A), a chemical long-suspected of being particularly damaging to fetuses, infants, and children.

But with all of the attention focused on the type and quality of the container, little thought is given to what you’re putting in your container and other small components of a water storage system, especially the hose used to fill and drain your tanks. 

Be Aware

Many of the hoses typically found around the house and yard, the ones available in most stores, are made with chemicals that contain high levels of lead.  This lead and other chemicals can leach into the water that is in contact with the hose or fittings and cause serious illness and long-term exposure risks. 

Most hoses available in retail stores are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The issue with these hoses is that lead is often used to stabilize the PVC, and this lead can contaminate water that sits in and flows through them. The connectors and fittings are also sources of lead leaching. The dangerous levels of lead in garden hoses could potentially cause lead poisoning, cancer, birth defects, and/or reproductive harm. (Read this Natural News article for more info.)

Recent studies from HealthyStuff.org and Consumer Reports show that water sitting in a garden hose that has been left in the sun can contain a level of lead up to 100 times what is considered a safe amount. It's a bit alarming when you think about how often water sits in your hose through the summer and gets sprayed on your beautiful organic garden, or how often your kids play run through the sprinklers or drink from the hose.  It might be a good time to make a switch. 

Hoses for Your Water Storage System

When setting up your water storage system (rain barrels, bulk tanks, cisterns), keep in mind the type of hose you are using to fill up and extract water from your system and seek to replace the lead-containing garden hose with one designed for drinking (potable) water.  By using safer, lead-free hoses, you can ensure that the water you are storing is as contaminant-free as possible. 

If you are worried about the 500 gallons already stored in your basement and don’t want to empty and refill your tank, consider having a filter that can remove lead and other harmful chemicals as part of your water storage plan.  It is always good to have additional filtering options anyways. 

What hoses are safe?

If you are going to replace hoses or start on that early holiday shopping list, look for hoses that are labeled "safe for drinking."  Here are a few options available online: 

      

And with any hose, flushing it out completely before drinking from it is your safest bet to reduce your risk of exposure.  Below is a list of hoses that have been found safe and not safe for using with potable water supplies.  (Read the Consumer Report article.)

Hose Safety by Consumer Reports

Safe for drinking

Not for drinking (as labeled)

Not for drinking (not labeled)

Gardener’s Supply Co. 33-469

Colorite Plastics Mainstays Light Duty

Teknor Apex Light Duty

Teknor Apex Boat & Camper Self-straightening

Colorite WaterWorks Light Duty

Teknor Apex Mainstays Medium Duty

Swan Marine/Camper

Gilmour Flexogen 716957

Companion 7169022

Better Homes and Gardens Kink-free

Swan Fairlawn Reinforced

Craftsman 7169612

 

Gilmour Flexogen 10-5805GY

Teknor Apex Heavy Duty

 

Swan Heavy Duty Soft & Supple

Craftsman 7169212

Actions to Consider

We all work hard to be healthier and more prepared for an uncertain future.  Being healthy means taking precautions and limiting the risks of illness and injury.  Exercise, eating well, and drinking clean water are important steps.  So for the water component, take some time to evaluate the pieces of your water storage system and what hoses you use for moving water around and watering the garden and livestock.  Replace questionable hoses if possible, and take precautions to reduce your expose to harmful chemical and lead -- remember to flush the old water.  Cheers to your health!

~ Brandon Garrett

Brandon Garrett is a preparedness consultant and team member of The Ready Store.  He writes informative articles and information for the ReadyBlog, the Ready Store's blog and educational section pertaining to topics of the economy, resiliency, and preparedness issues. 

Full disclosure: Based on our existing relationship with The ReadyStore, PeakProsperity.com will receive a small commission as an affiliate for purchases made through the Ready Store. This will not impact the price you pay and the proceeds we received will be immediately invested to fund new features and functionality for this site.

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1 Comment

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1025
lead testing

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  If the referenced studies would present the actual lead level data, methods used, lead levels in the source water for testing, etc. we could evaluate in more detail how significant a concern lead in water hoses really might be.  I'm not too worried about my lawn, but will consider when I fill my chicken waterers from the hoze.

The drinking water action level)is .015 ppb for lead.  Public drinking water systems test periodically at certain household taps by taking the first water out after its been sitting for six or more hours.  Flushing your plumbing each morning before taking a drink is good practice and substantially reduces the risk of lead.

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