Garden Hose Dangers - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Garden Hose Dangers

"Filling up pools and slip and slides, and playing in the sprinkler, that's scary, really scary, " says concerned parent Missy Ruiz "Filling up pools and slip and slides, and playing in the sprinkler, that's scary, really scary, " says concerned parent Missy Ruiz
Poison Control Director Jeanie Jaramillo says, "Lead poisoning can cause affects on virtually all the systems of the body." Poison Control Director Jeanie Jaramillo says, "Lead poisoning can cause affects on virtually all the systems of the body."
Veternarian Dr. Janice Wolf says, "The symptoms that lead poisoning can cause is vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. It can develop into neurological signs like seizers, and anemias, and eventually death." Veternarian Dr. Janice Wolf says, "The symptoms that lead poisoning can cause is vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. It can develop into neurological signs like seizers, and anemias, and eventually death."

Danger could be lurking outside your back door.... In the form of lead poisoning...

After reading about the high lead levels a garden hose can contain, we decided to do an investigation of our own.

And the results stunned parents we spoke with.

Concerned parent Missy Ruiz says "It's pretty disturbing. I never never would have thought about that. Filling up pools and slip and slides, and playing in the sprinkler, that's scary, really scary."

Here's what we found the legal limit for lead in drinking water is .015 parts per million. After filling the hoses and capping them off for a day in the sun... The results were shocking.

While neither of the old hoses reached above the legal limit, they did increase from what lead was originally in the water from the city of Amarillo...

Both new hoses showed a jump in lead content with the worst being .601 parts per million...

Poison Control Director Jeanie Jaramillo says, "Lead poisoning can cause affects on virtually all the systems of the body. It can cause damage to the brain and nervous system. And particularly in children it can cause slowing of growth, hearing problems, learning behaviors, learning problems and behavioral problems."

Its not only a risk for your family, but your pets or livestock.

Veterinarian Dr. Janice Wolf says, "The symptoms that lead poisoning can cause is vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. It can develop into neurological signs like seizers, and anemias, and eventually death. Lead poisoning is a very serious problem."

Experts say the lead comes from the hose its self, not Amarillo water supply. It's also important to note that the affected water is only that which has set inside the hose between uses. Once the hose runs for a few minutes, all the lead is flushed out and is safe.

Here is the test results directly from the lab:

Each of the four hoses provided were filled with Amarillo City Water from a convenient tap.  The four hoses were labeled old ½", old 5/8", new grey, new yellow by the laboratory.  The hoses were placed in an open yard area for 24 hours.  The water was drained from the hoses into a holding container.  They were filtered through a 0.45-micron filter to remove any fine particulate and preserved with nitric acid to a pH <2 per recommended regulation.  After setting for 24 additional hours, per recommended regulation, the samples were analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.

The results are in the following table.  It is very important to note, each of the new hoses has a warning label.  The new grey hose cautions the user not to drink from the hose, and states the hose may contain harmful contaminants and/or bacterial growth.  The new yellow hose contains similar cautions, but clearly states the hose contains lead, and users should not drink from the hose.

The results are listed below.  The current drinking water standard is <0.015 mg/l (ppm) with a recommendation for <0.005 mg/l (ppm).

Control Sample

Old ½"

Old 5/8"

New Yellow

New Grey

<0.005 ppm

0.013 ppm

0.010 ppm

0.080 ppm

0.601 ppm

Clearly based on this simple screening test, consumers should not drink water, or provide water to their pets from a garden hose, which has been setting out in the sun.  This screening only provides information about water, which was stagnant in the hose.  

We did a further test through each hose.  Each hose was flushed until the water ran cool then 1 additional minute with Amarillo City water.  Water was collected and tested.  The results are listed below.

Control Sample

Old ½"

Old 5/8"

New Yellow

New Grey

<0.005 ppm

<0.005 ppm

<0.005 ppm

<0.005 ppm

<0.005 ppm

Clearly, the lead contamination is a leaching effect with time and heat.  Water contact on a flow through basis does not appear to contain harmful lead levels, If the hose is flushed prior to use. 

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