Ahhhhhhh, remember the hot summer days as a kid when you’d quench your thirst by getting a drink from the garden hose? You may have heard in your adult years that this isn’t such a good idea. The reasoning behind this is that many garden hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which uses lead as a stabilizer. When water sits in a PVC hose, lead can leach into the water in concentrations that, according to tests conducted by Consumer Reports, can reach 10 to 100 times the allowable lead levels. PVC hoses often carry a warning to consumers but unfortunately they are often printed in a microscopic font or on the underside of the label. Lead is a huge health threat that is particularly hazardous for children under the age of six.
The impact of watering gardens with lead-laced water on a regular basis is questionable. Plants don’t generally absorb lead unless there is a high concentration of it in the soil.
The good news is you can buy hoses that are lead free. They are made with FDA-approved materials and are labeled “drink-safe,” or “safe for potable water”. And remember, even if you have a “drink-safe” hose, let the water run until it’s cold before you drink from it, because bacteria can grow in warm standing water.