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For the second year in a row, high levels of hazardous chemicals, many of which have been banned in children’s products, have been found in garden hoses. This is according to researchers at the Ann Arbour-based Ecology Centre, which has just completed a study of toxic chemicals in 21 garden hoses, testing for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals damage environmental wellness, and threaten your child’s wellbeing with birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty.
According to Jeff Gearhart, ‘Drinking water from a hose is one of the pleasures of summer. You shouldn’t need to worry that the water contains chemicals of concern from your garden hose. While the good news is that consumer pressure has resulted in lower levels of lead in hoses this year, we are still finding unnecessary toxic hazards in garden hoses. And it’s encouraging that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses are a great improvement over PVC and are better choices.’
Of the 21 garden hoses tested, 67% (14) were polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 4.5% contained brominated flame retardants. Hazardous metals were also found in hoses; including organic tin stabilizers (29%); and antimony (52%). Every single one of the PVC hoses tested for phthalates contained one or more of the phthalates which have been banned by CPSC in children’s products, and the total phthalate content in those hoses ranged from 11 to 18% by weight. This is a wellness concern because phthalates are not chemically bound to the material and can be released to the air and water.
Mike Schade, Markets Campaign Coordinator with the Centre for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), commented, ‘No parent should have to worry whether their garden hose is leaching hormone disrupting chemicals into the water their children or pets drink from. We now know vinyl garden hoses may leach toxic phthalates and BPA into water. It’s time for retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart to safeguard our children’s health and phase out the use of these poison plastic vinyl hoses.’