Hazardous Chemicals found in Gardening Water Hoses
May 7, 2013
Hoses Can Leach Phthalates and BPA into Water, Study Finds
Retailers Called on to Stop Selling Products
High levels of hazardous chemicals, many of which have been banned in children’s products, were found in garden hoses for the second year in row. 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, which has just completed a study of toxic chemicals in garden hoses.
The study is a follow-up to a 2012 study that tested 90 garden water hoses. This year, 21 garden 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). These chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems. Results were released today at www.HealthyStuff.org.
Highlights of Findings
- 21 new garden hoses were purchased from Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Kmart. One-third (8 of 21) of the garden hoses tested contained high levels of one or more chemicals of concern. These hoses are widely available and top selling brands.
- Of the 21 garden hoses tested, 67% (14 of 21) were polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 4.5% contained brominated flame retardants.
- 4 hoses were tested for phthalate content. Total phthalate content in those hoses ranged from 11 to 18% by weight. Phthalates are not chemically bound to the material and can be released to the air and water.
- 100% of the PVC hoses tested for phthalates contained one or more of the phthalates which have been banned by CPSC in children’s products.
- Hazardous metals were also found in hoses; including organic tin stabilizers (29%); and antimony (52%);
- Overall the level of lead in garden hoses declined between 2012 and 2013. The percentage of hoses with greater then 100 ppm lead declined from 50% in 2012 to 14% in 2013.
What Was Found in the Water
- Water was sampled from one hose after it was left in the sun for two days
- BPA levels of 0.34 – 0.91 ppm were found in the hose water. This level is 3 to 9 - 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 0.017 – 0.011 ppm in the hose water. This level is 2-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water from the tap at 0.006 mg/l (ppm).