One of the best time to travel and enjoy with your friends and relatives is during summer. You can go to the beach, mountains, or anywhere you plan to visit.
However, the heat of the sun is scorching, and it makes you thirsty. When your food and drink supplies are depleted, you will be tempted to drink water from the garden hose.
The same is true when you set up a pool on your lawn, and you let your kids stay long hours on it. No matter how careful you are, it is inevitable that they will drink water from the hose.
But the water in the garden hose is not generally safe for drinking. It contains bacteria that can harm your health. The material of the hose reacts with the water, which makes it contaminated.
Thus, this article aims to discuss the chemicals you can find in the garden hose so you will be more informed of its harm to your family. Also, this will tackle the effects of drinking water from the hose. Finally, it will give tips on reducing the effects of the chemicals from the hose on your body.
Knowing Garden Hose Better
A garden hose is a flexible tube that people used inside their homes to convey water. Sometimes, people attach it with sprinklers and sprayers at the end of the hose to concentrate water at one point only or to spread it over on a large area. Usually, the hoses are attached to the tap or spigot.
The garden hoses are usually made of synthetic rubber or plastic, and it is reinforced with a web of fibers. Because of these materials, the garden hoses are smooth and flexible. You can pull them on anywhere you go, like in trees, posts, and other obstacles. Indeed, the garden hoses are tough, so they can survive scrapes from rocks and be stepped by people without causing leaks or damages.
Hoses that are designed to carry water are usually made of NSF International-listed polymers. These materials are tested so they will not leach into the water.
Meanwhile, most garden hoses available in the market nowadays are not rated for use with hot water. The packaging can tell a lot about this so the customers can make a sound decision. If you leave a non-reinforced and pressurized hose under the heat of the sun for a long period, it can cause them to burst.
The garden hoses are used to transport water to landscaping, gardening, or taking care of the lawn. People also used it to clean other outdoor items such as equipment, automobiles, animals, and buildings.
A Garden hose can make your life easier since you don’t need to fetch heavy water to finish the activities you have outside your home. It can help you bring water in hard-to-reach areas of your home quickly.
Indeed, almost all modern homes nowadays have a hose in their homes.
Origin of the Water in the Garden Hose
In general, the water that comes out from your garden hose is the same water that comes out of your tap. There are water pipes located underground on the street, and it splits into different parts of your home.
The water was treated by the water treatment plants before sending it to your home. As such, it is safe for drinking, and it can even help strengthen one’s bones and teeth.
However, the garden hose might not be as safe as the pipes and fittings inside your home. The pipes and fittings are constructed to avoid contamination and make it safe for drinking. Meanwhile, the garden hose is dirty, and it might not be suitable for human consumption.
The garden hose might be contaminated since the water might react with the material of the hose. Add to it the heat of the sun plus the rusty plumbing outside your home.
Sometimes, even if you open the tap and let your garden hose run for a long time before drinking, you can’t be sure that the water inside is not contaminated with chemicals.
Toxins in Garden Hose
In a study conducted on about 200 garden hose in America, it has been found out that there are several toxins present. There were toxins such as bromine, lead, phthalates, and antimony in PVC hoses. Meanwhile, non-PVC hoses do not contain these kinds of chemicals.
Here are some more chemicals in the garden hose:
BPA: Garden hose can contain BPA, which is typically found in plastic wares. According to studies, BPA can affect one’s health. For example, it can cause the rising of blood pressure. This is because when the plastic wares were left under the sun's heat, they can react with it. This is one of the reasons why many products nowadays are BPA-free, and people patronize them.
As such, if you left your garden hose under the sun, the water inside might react with the hose and become contaminated with BPA.
Lead: According to a study done by the Ecology Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, there are high levels of lead that exceed the standard set by the Safe Water Drinking Act. Some of the hoses have more than 100 ppm of lead. Even tiny amounts of lead can be dangerous to your health, and there is no safe limit for it.
Antimony: Another chemical that can be found in the garden hose is antimony. Studies found out that antimony can cause kidney failure, liver issues, and other internal organ problems.
Phthalates: Phthalates are chemicals that are added to cosmetics and plastics to make them flexible and soft. This chemical can damage the endocrine system, lower intelligence, and behavioral changes. It can also cause hormonal imbalance and sterility in men. About 75% of PVC hoses have phthalates, and some of the drinking water hoses contain this chemical.
Moreover, it is not just the garden hose that is toxic. Sometimes, the metal fixtures on hoses do not adhere to the standards set by authorities. In this case, even if the hose is safe, the connectors might add contamination to the water.
Outside Water is Unmonitored for Cleanliness
Aside from the fact that there are various chemicals found in the garden hose, the water quality is not also checked by the authorities.
Indeed, the pipes and the fittings are standardized to produce safe drinking material in your home. However, the pipes supplying the outside water plus the hose can be full of bacteria and molds.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors drinking water supply through the Safe Drinking Water Act. The agency takes samples at regular intervals and tests them for impurities or the presence of chemicals.
They check the water from the source and the one that goes through the household pipes. Sometimes, they don’t check the outside tap anymore. Although the water leaves the plant perfectly safe, the water can become contaminated if it travels through unsafe pipes or fittings.
Most people do not disinfect their outside taps anymore since they use them to water the plants and clean their cars. As such, the bacteria and germs might multiply and cause problems in the long run.
Effects of Unclean Garden Hose
There are various effects that an unsafe and unclean garden hose can bring to you. It can cause adverse health effects, costly repairs, and pollution. Find out more in this section:
Unclean Water Can Cause Health Effects
If the water is dirty, it can make you sick. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or a sick stomach. The treatment for a sick stomach can last for days, and it can affect your schedule at home or work.
It can also give you skin rashes, problems in your reproductive organs, and other developmental problems. You might have difficulty concentrating on your daily life and be depressed due to your disease.
Finally, dirty water can also cause cancer in the long run. Dirty water can contain chemicals that can react with bodily tissues. The cancer treatment can be expensive, and its effects are irreversible. Thus, it is still best to look at what you are drinking or eating.
Hoses Can Cause Garden Pollution
The water in the garden house will not just affect your livestock, pets, and kids. It can also cause pollution in your garden, according to the Ecology Center.
The antimony, phthalates, and BPA in the water can contaminate the soil in the garden. If it’s contaminated, the plants, flowers, and fruits might be affected too.
When it rains, the polluted soil might runoff in the streets and the water source. As such, the bodies of water might be affected, plus the animals on it.
In the long run, people can drink water from the polluted water source and become sick. Thus, it becomes a never-ending cycle.
How to Reduce the Risk of an Unclean Water from the Garden Hose
Indeed, the water in your garden hose is not safe to quench your thirst. Also, it might not be good to let your pets drink from it since it carries various germs and chemicals on it.
However, there are steps that you can do to minimize the risk of the water in the hose since sometimes it is inevitable not to drink water in the garden hose. For example, if you set up a pool, sometimes your kids might find it tempting to drink water from the hose.
Thus, to minimize adverse effects of the water from the garden hose, follow these tips:
Let the water run for a few minutes: If you wish to water your plants or fill the pool in your garden, you can first let the water from your hose run for a few minutes. With this, you can reduce the toxins in the water. It is not good for water to sit on the hose for long hours. Thus, flush it first before utilizing the hose.
Keep the hose in the dark and cool place: Make sure that you keep your hose in a safe area and do not leave it under the heat of the sun. Warm temperature plus the sunlight can increase the degradation rate of the polymer and cause the leaching of the chemicals in the water. Keeping your hose away from warm areas can slow down these processes.
Mind the Fixture: Most of the outdoor fixtures are made of brass. The brass is unregulated, and most of the time, it contains lead. Even if you think that your outdoor fixtures are safe for consumption, sometimes it contains heavy metal contamination from the plumbs and faucet. Thus, be always mindful of the fixture and if you have the money, change it regularly.
Choose Rubber Hose: Use natural rubber hoses that don’t have toxic plasticizers. These brands do not contain any toxic, unlike the traditional ones. Make sure that you read the product description before you buy a new garden hose. Select those that have a low environmental impact and safe for drinking water. In general, this type of hose is safe to use. But it is best to let the water run for a few minutes to remove the undesirable chemicals.
In a nutshell, drinking in the garden hose is not advisable. Aside from the fact that you can’t be sure of what type of material the manufacturers used, outside fixtures are not monitored the same way you’re inside fixtures.
Some hoses are labeled as ‘drinking water safe.’ However, these are a little more expensive than regular hoses. You can buy this product or choose a rubber hose instead.
Lastly, it might be tempting to drink from the garden hose, but it is still best to walk into your kitchen and get the water from the tap. You can also buy a water bottle from the local stores or invest in a filter installed in your water. A little discipline is what you need especially if we talk about drinking water.