(NaturalNews) Most people probably don't think twice about it as they water their lawns or gardens. But the average garden hose is teeming with chemicals like lead and bisphenol A (BPA), according to new research, and these toxins could be making you and your family sick.
The Ecology Center, a U.S.-based research group, looked at 21 different brands and models of garden hoses to see what kinds of chemicals they might be leaching. Shockingly, many of the hoses tested extremely high for plasticizing chemicals like BPA, as well as harmful metals like lead.
The worst were hoses made from PVC plastic and vinyl, which tended to leach more phthalates and BPA than other hoses. Copper fittings were also found to be problematic, as hoses that use them tested the worst overall for lead content, according to the research.
"The level of phthalate plasticizers that leached into the water [were] four times higher than drinking water standards," stated Jeff Gearhart, the lead researcher of the project, as quoted by Canada's CBC News.
"[A]nd bisphenol A, which is another chemical we're worried about, was 20 times higher than drinking water standards that are commonly used to measure water safety."
Most commercial garden hoses contain chemicals that damage human hormones
The majority of the garden hoses tested, according to Rodale News, were made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a toxic plastic that contains high levels of organotins, a type of endocrine-disrupting chemical. Organotins interfere with both hormone production and reproductive capacity.
One-third of the PVC hoses were found to contain organotins, and a shocking 50 percent or more of all the hoses also contained antimony, a metalloid that can damage the kidneys and liver. Five percent of the hoses also contained bromine, a halogen chemical that, like BPA and organotins, damages sex hormones.
Of the 21 hoses tested, five were randomly chosen and tested for phthalates, a classification of plasticizing chemicals that is added to PVC to keep it flexible. All five of the hoses tested positive for phthalates, with one containing as much as 18 percent phthalates by weight, according to Rodale News.
"Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products," stated Gearheart back in 2012 following the release of a previous study on hoses and garden tools that came to similar disturbing conclusions.
"The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses, and non-PVC tools and work gloves, are all better choices," he added.
Most hoses contain 'concerning' levels of harmful chemicals, study finds
This earlier study found that, among 179 common garden products tested, two-thirds of them, or more than 66 percent, contained chemicals at levels that were of "high concern." Roughly one-third of all the products contained more than 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard (CPSC) for lead in children's products.
And like the new study, every single garden hose tested contained at least four phthalate plasticizers that are banned in children's products.
"Gardening products, including water hoses, are completely unregulated and often fail to meet drinking water standards that apply to other products, yet again demonstrating the complete failure of our federal chemicals regulatory system," stated Gearhart.
"Our children will never be safe until we reform our laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves."
For some helpful tips about how to choose the right hose for your gardening needs, visit: RodaleNews.com.
Visit HeavyMetals.NaturalNews.com for more information and breaking news on heavy metals like lead that could be lurking in consumer products.