Readers ask, we answer

Janice asks:

“Is it OK to drink out of a garden hose?”

Hi, Janice. It may be tempting to turn the spigot and take a sip, but drinking this water isn’t a good idea. Garden hoses have been shown to contain a host of chemicals that can be harmful to children and adults alike.

As a garden hose sits between uses, the water inside collects bacteria and chemicals from the hose’s plastic tubing. In addition, the brass ring at the opening can contain even more contaminates. This contamination is worsened if the hose has been sitting in the sun for extended periods of time.

Among other chemicals, lead is a big concern with regard to drinking from a hose. While research in this area is lacking, a study conducted by the Ann Arbor Ecology Center in 2016 found evidence that certain hoses leach unsafe levels of lead into water. When it comes to oral health, lead exposure has been shown to increase the risk of cavities for people of all ages. From an overall health standpoint, it can have dramatic consequences, especially on children younger than 6 years old. Lead has been linked to severe mental and physical developmental issues. In some cases, lead poisoning can even be fatal.

Your plants may love the water from the garden hose, but it’s best for children and adults to steer clear. Try bringing a bottle of water with you to do yardwork or taking a trip inside to pour yourself a glass from the tap.

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