Is It Safe To Drink Water Straight From The Hose In Minnesota?
Like probably every other kid on Earth, when I got thirsty playing outside on a hot summer day I would simply grab the green garden hose from the rock bed, turn on the tap and enjoy some delicious ice cold hose water.
St. Cloud Rox General Manager Rachel Thiesse joined us on The River Morning Show Wednesday to talk about the team's upcoming games. During our chat she mentioned that a large number of kids would be attending the game, adding 'and we will keep them hydrated' as the game time temperature was expected to be in the 90's.
I jokingly said that the team should just randomly place hoses around the stadium for kids to drink from, to which she replied that she had drank from the hose as a kid, too. I had wondered if this was something that was phased out after the 1980's but it turns out that isn't the case.
Things got weird at dinner that night when my dad told me he STILL drinks from the hose... at age 64! He had no shame about it, either.
That admission got me to wondering just how safe/gross drinking from a garden hose really is. Is it as nasty as I imagine with insects and mold infesting the hose, or is it just an efficient way to cool off while working outside?
According to a 2016 study by the University of Utah, unless you are using a hose specifically designed for, and labeled as, 'drinking water safe,' that hose you are drinking from likely contains high levels of lead, bromine, antimony, and phthalates if it is a PVC hose. Non-PVC hoses did not have these contaminants.
PVC (vinyl) hoses frequently contained elevated lead, bromine, antimony, and phthalates in the flexible hose part. Non-PVC hoses did not contain these contaminants.
29% of the PVC hoses (7 of 24) contained at least 100 ppm and as high as 68,000 ppm lead.
Phthalates were found in 75% of PVC hoses tested (18 of 24).
Bromine >1000 ppm and antimony >500 ppm were found in 50% of PVC hoses. Analysis suggests recycled electronic waste vinyl was used in a number of PVC hoses, resulting in high levels of bromine (indicating brominated flame retardants), lead, antimony, and tin (indicating organotin stabilizers).
BPA and lead were found to leach from some hoses into water.
In addition, the water itself may have lead. From the Utah study:
Lead was found in the water from half of the hoses (3 of 6) whose water was tested. These water samples contained 13, 19, and 20 ppb lead, respectively. The EPA action level for drinking water is 15 ppb.
The hoses that were labeled 'safe for drinking water' did not have lead detected in testing.