To drink or not to drink? That is the question...
Shakespeare parodies aside, this is a question we frequently hear from our customers. It's safe to say that most of us as kids drank from the garden hose. And if you're still able to read this post, it didn't cause any serious, lasting effects. On the other hand, there are many things we are more aware now that products are better tested and we have a better understanding of the potential dangers of chemicals leeching into our food and water supply.
So what's the answer? Is it safe to drink from a garden hose? Here is some information that might make you think twice before you pucker up at the spigot:
In a 2012 Time Article, Dominique Browning outlines research showing that many garden hoses contain everything from lead to endocrine disruptors to neurotoxins. She states that since garden hoses are not regulated in the same way as plumbing fixtures, harmful chemicals are frequently found in hoses. This problem is worse in older hoses, partly because of the way they were manufactured, and partially because the plastic, rubber and metal used to construct them degrades over time.
As you probably know, lead-based paint has been banned for decades because of its safety hazards. This is a particular concern around children, whose developing brains are much more susceptible to lead poisoning. Knowing this, why would you expose yourself or your kids to another documented source of lead by drinking from it? Not to mention all the other chemicals frequently found in garden hoses.
We've already discussed in a previous blog article how water bottles can leech chemicals over time into their contents. This problem is exasperated by heat: you should never leave a plastic drinking container in the sun! Now think about your garden hose that's been left in the sun for weeks or even years on end... and that's not even designed as a drinking container!
There are garden hoses that are specifically marketed as drinking-safe, so if you are going to drink from the hose, we recommend you get one of these. Once you invest in one of these safer hoses, keep it out of the sun. And when you do drink from it, run the water until it is cold, and then run it for another 20 seconds or so to make sure none of the water has been sitting in the hose, spigot or pipe that supplies it.
And remember, consider these precautions not just for you and your children, but also for your pets and farm animals. Your dog or cat is just as susceptible to lead and other chemicals as you are.
At M & M Plumbing, we are always concerned about the safety of your water supply. We carry a full line of counter, under-counter and whole-house water filtration systems to bring your family or business clean, pure water. If you have concerns over the safety of your water supply, please give us a call or contact us through our website.