ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — Add taking a drink of water straight from the garden hose to the list of traditional activities that it turns out might be hazardous.
The Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center says it tested 21 garden hoses from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-mart, Target and Kmart. The hoses were left sitting in the sun for two days, and water was run through the hoses, collected and tested.
Levels of the toxic chemical BPA was found in the water at levels of 0.34 to 0.91 parts per million, a level that is three to nine times federal safe water drinking standards. Also, the phthalate DEHP was found at concentrations of 0.017 to 0.011 ppm in the hose water, two times higher than federal drinking water standards.
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 at www.healthystuff.org.
Of the 21 garden hoses tested, 33 percent contained high levels of one or more chemicals of concern, 67 percent were made of PVC, 4.5 percent contained brominated flame retardants, 29 percent contained organic tin stabilizers and 52 percent contained antimony.
Five hoses were tested for phthalate content, and the results ranged from 11 to 18 percent by weight. Phthalates are not chemically bound to the material and can be released to the air and water.
All of the PVC hoses tested contained one or more of the phthalates banned by Consumer Product Safety Commission for use in children’s products.
The percentage of hoses with greater than 100 ppm lead declined from 50 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2013.