Garden Hoses – A Potential Health Risk

Every summer we fill up the water tables and kiddie pools, turn on the toy sprinkler and let the kids have some water fun out in the backyard, while my husband and I tend to our organic garden. What we didn’t know, until recently, was that we were exposing both our children and our soil to harmful metals and chemicals.



In 2012,* conducted studies on almost 200 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools. Researchers 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.”

FINDINGS on the Garden Hoses, as stated by

  • 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 from the Hoses:

  • 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).

You can click here to view all findings:


What to do to Avoid these Chemicals (As shared by

  • 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: Polyurethane or natural rubber hoses are better choices.



Valterra Drinking Water Hose

Colorite Element Lead Free, Kink Free Hose

Apex Healthy Habit Eco-Smart and Family Safe Garden Hose

Goodyear Rubber Water Hose

Swan Premium Rubber Hose ***** This is the safest one I have found, according to the HealthyStuff ratings, it contains NO metals or chemicals. Findings Here.

* This list has been updated since first posting it, as further tests found lead in even options that call themselves “lead safe.”

**” is based on research conducted by environmental health organizations and other researchers around the country. The Ecology Center created and leads its research and development. The Ecology Center is a Michigan-based nonprofit environmental organization that works at the local, state, and national levels for clean production, healthy communities, environmental justice, and a sustainable future.”

Works Cited

“Chemicals in Hoses Leach Water, Study Finds.” May 2012. Web. April 26, 2012.

“Don’t Drink the Water: Study Warns Drinking From Garden Hose.” CBS News. June, 2012.

*Amazon links are affiliate related. As I spend a lot of time providing safe options, I appreciate your support of the upkeep of this site by purchasing through the links.

About Raising Natural Kids

A mother of two looking to raise awareness about the everyday issues that parents face, focusing on raising children holistically.
This entry was posted in garden and grass chemicals, the environment around us, Toxic Chemicals Around Children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Garden Hoses – A Potential Health Risk

  1. branjes says:

    Here’s a made in the USA filter option: The Clean Water Fun garden hose filter has been specially designed to fit any standard garden hose thread. It has been third party tested to remove Chlorine, Chloramines, VOCs, and Pesticides/Herbicides commonly found in home water supplies. The Clean Water Fun garden hose filter can be used for any of your outdoor water needs where cleaner water is desired such as children’s outdoor water play, pet care, and organic gardening.

  2. Pingback: Hidden Dangers in Garden Hoses | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA

  3. Mark Tillotson says:

    There is a serious potential health risk from leaving a garden hose connected with the tap on and a nozzle on the end closed off. Garden hoses are often left one end open and some water inside so that bacteria etc. can coat the inside of the hose. When this is left connected into the house water supply from an open tap with a closed nozzle, the house water can become contaminated. Always turn the tap off and drain the line by opening the nozzle to release the pressure.

  4. The Green & Grow water house you are recommending in this article has high lead levels and other heavy metals according to this link:

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