LESLIE: Sarah in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SARAH: Yes, I was not aware until recently, when I started shopping for a garden hose, that most garden hoses contain lead and other dangerous chemicals. And I was just wondering how dangerous are these chemicals and is it a real issue or is there something I could do in place of these. Because I want to water my dog and my vegetable garden and I don’t want to make our family and our dog sick.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, I think with any amount of lead, it’s really important not to expose your family to it. Our son is almost two years old and when he was just about a year, we found out that he had elevated levels of lead due to a home construction project we were doing; we live in a 100-year-old house. And for young children, it can cause a lot of developmental issues and, thankfully, we found out about it early enough.
But you want to make sure that you do whatever you can to not expose your family to lead and garden hoses, you’re right, almost all of them do have lead in it. But you’re not supposed to drink from a garden hose and people just think, "Yay, it’s summer. Look, I’m drinking from the hose."
SARAH: Yeah, I’ve done it my whole life.
LESLIE: Yeah, me too. But we’re all OK. (chuckles)
TOM: The thing is, though, you never want to drink water from a garden hose and if you do use it for bathing the dog and watering the garden, you just want to let a little water run first because the chemicals leach out of the vinyl and they sit in the water.
LESLIE: When it sits there.
TOM: But if you simply clear the hose of the water that’s been sitting there, then the levels go down dramatically.
Now the other thing that you can do is you could shop for drinking water-safe hose and you will find this not only at RV centers and marine centers – because drinking water hose is very, very commonly used on boats and RVs – but you’re also starting to see it in major home centers like Lowe’s or The Home Depot.
TOM: And it’s not that much more expensive.
LESLIE: No. And you know, there’s one that – it’s a brand called NeverKink, so you’re going to get the benefit of the hose never sort of binding and kinking up on itself, plus it’s a boat and camper-safe drinking water hose. So just look for things like that.
SARAH: OK. Now I’ve seen a few products online and I didn’t know how to tell if they were any good. I mean how would I know for sure that I was getting what they’re claiming?
LESLIE: You know what, Sarah? Look at the labels. There’s going to be something written on the tag itself that says – you know, you want to see something like the ROHS, which stands for the Restriction of Hazard Substances, and that’s a government program that really looks at what the manufacturer is putting into their products. So if you see something like that, you know you can trust it.
SARAH: OK. Why thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.