Is Your Dog Ingesting Lead, Cadmium, BPA or Phthalates from the Garden Hose?
Oh-oh. Another thing we have to do to keep our dogs safe. Now it’s garden hoses that are causing problems for you and your dog. High amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after sitting outside in the sun for just a few days, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, who just completed a large study of toxic chemicals in gardening products.
Nearly 200 hoses were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Such chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems.
“Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center. “The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses are all better choices.”
Highlights of Findings
- 100% of the garden hoses sampled for phthalates contained four phthalate plasticizers which are currently banned in children’s products.
- Two water hoses contained the flame retardant 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH).
What Was Found in the Water
- Water sampled from one hose contained 0.280 mg/l (ppm) lead. This is 18-times higher than the federal drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/l.
- BPA levels of 2.3 ppm was found in the hose water. This level is 20-times higher than the 0.100 ppm safe drinking water level used by NSF to verify that consumers are not being exposed to levels of a chemical that exceed regulated levels.
- The phthalate DEHP was found at 0.025 ppm in the hose water. This level is 4-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water at 0.006 mg/l (ppm).
What You Can Do
- Read the labels: Avoid hoses with a California Prop 65 warning that says “this product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.” Buy hoses that are “drinking water safe” and “lead-free”.
- Let it run: Always let your hose run for a few seconds before using, since the water that’s been sitting in the hose will have the highest levels of chemicals.
- Avoid the sun: Store your hose in the shade. The heat from the sun can increase the leaching of chemicals from the PVC into the water.
- Don’t drink water from a hose: Unless you know for sure that your hose is drinking water safe, don’t drink from it. Even low levels of lead may cause health problems.
- Buy a PVC-free hose to fill your dog’s pool or outside water bowl: Polyurethane or natural rubber hoses are better choices. Visit www.HealthyStuff.org for sample products.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t get hyponatremia by drinking too much water in a short period of time: Another problem with hoses (and water sports in general) is that dogs can drink so much water that their electrolytes drop to the point of causing hyponatremia (water toxicity) causing their blood plasma to thin and their brain and other organs to swell.
PVC-free watering hoses:
- Flat Soaker Hose (Gilmor)
- Green Coil Hose with Nozzle (REnew Room Essentials)
- Purple Coil Hose with Nozzle (REnew Room Essentials)
- Red Coil Hose with Nozzle (REnew Room Essentials)
- Taupe Coil Hose with Nozzle (REnew Room Essentials)
- Soil Soaker (Tractor Supply)
- Soaker Hose (Swan)
- Heavy Duty Garden Hose (Flexon)
- Sprinkler Hose (ACE)
- Soaker Hose (ACE)