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Some Hoses Unsafe To Drink Out Of Due To Lead

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Frank Vascellaro
Jul 12, 2007

(WCCO) A new study shows some garden hoses are unsafe for people to drink out of because of high levels of lead. Experts say it's still okay to use them to watering.

Most of people probably took a drink out of the garden hose during the summer when we were kids. However, hoses can contain high levels of lead and other chemicals.

"The use of the PVC, polyvinyl chloride, uses lead as stabilizers, pretty common in the industry," said David Locher, with the Minnesota Department of Health.

Locher is the supervisor with the Asbestos and Lead Compliance Program and he said the Department of Health advises that people don't drink out of garden hoses.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers water with lead levels below 15 parts per billion to be safe. Some garden hoses tested at much higher levels.

"What they found in half the cases of the hoses they looked at, where they were exceeded about 10 to 100 times, which is profound," said Locher.

"I've caught them trying to drink out of it a couple of times," said Terri Clason, a mom with two young kids.

This Cottage Grove mom said that until today she's was never too concerned about her kids drinking from the hose because it was what she used to do it.

"I know for a fact when I was little I drank out of the garden hose," said Clason.

After seeing the reports, she will insist they drink from the tap.

"I'm obviously more aware of it now, so I'll be more probably vigilant about it than I was before," she said.

Experts say to be extra safe and let the water run for a few minutes, especially if the hose is old.

"If you've got hoses laying around that haven't been used in a while, and they drink that first drop, that's where lead is the highest concentration," said Locher.

If you're concerned about hoses with lead, look for ones that have labels that say they are safe for drinking. These are usually made with medical grade vinyl and nickel-plated fittings.


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