The special taste of hose water that everyone I grew up with, seems to remember had more to do with that special time when we were kids but could have been an indicator of contamination by a number of chemicals used back then that could have been leaching into the hose water. Is Hose Water Safe to Drink?
No-regular garden hoses aren’t made to deliver safe drinking H2O because toxic plastic additives are used in garden hose manufacturing like plasticizers for flexibility & the common plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contain BPA, lead & phthalates that can leach into the H2O from the hose.
Drinking from a hose can have a plastic rubber or vinyl taste which comes from the material used to make the hose or its piping, if you were a kid and drinking from that after a ball game with all your buddies in the summer time then it wasn’t such a big deal but knowing what we know today, It could have been!
Drinking Water From a Hose
Drinking from your water hose is as American as a baseball or driveway basketball game. When I grew up in the 1960s-70s and the baseball game finished up in those dog days of summer we headed to the closest water hose at the closest house and gulp down enough water to hydrate soaking our heads at the end of our turn and feeling that burning effect when the hose water shot up your nostrils while you were drinking.
If you were once a kid and drank from your garden hose then you felt that burn and you know that special taste that only a garden hose has after a whiffle ball game in the dog days of summer.
If you drank from it too soon, the warm water in the hose tasted like vinyl or PVC whatever the hose was made from and the key was to let run for a little bit.
Drinking water from a hose had a special taste that lingers in my memory to this day 50 years later. Remember?
Could that have been bad for you?
You should not consume water that has any smell or taste associated with Plastic. Water that tastes plasticky is most likely contaminated with chemicals used in making plastics and could be unsafe for human consumption.
Back in the day, most garden hoses were made from questionable materials and some still are today. In addition to bacteria, and mold, materials and plastic additives used in manufacturing like plasticizers give the hose flexibility but also contain chemicals, like BPA, lead, and phthalates, that find their way into the water in the hose.
While these chemicals don’t harm your plants, researchers say are toxic to humans. There are many of these hazardous chemicals that were not known about in the last couple of decades. Since then there are a lot of better materials used in products like water hoses and water bottles that are considered safer than the ones that were available to us way back then.
- Let the water run- the worst of the contamination can come from water that has been sitting in the hose for a while. If you let the water run for a few minutes, you’ll greatly reduce the number of toxins in the hose water.
- Replace the garden hose with a Food-Grade type of hose using brass fittings
- Keep the garden hose in a dark, cool area- this is because sunlight along with warmer temperatures increases the rate of degradation of the polymers and leaching of undesirable manufacturing chemicals into the hose water.
Is Hose Water the Same as Tap Water
The source of the water is the same as your tap water the only difference is how the hose water is delivered out of the valve that connects to your garden hose. This includes the piping to the outside water connection and then the hose. The materials used in the piping and manufacturing of the hoses are mostly PVC and it contains chemicals like phthalates which are likely to leak into the water.
If you were to test your drinking water at your tap you would most likely find that they are similar in Chlorine residual TDS and pH but just drinking water can change when it leaves the treatment plant moving through piping in the distribution system the same water that’s at your tap can be changed as it moves through and exits the piping, valves, fittings and garden hose that make the connection before it leaves.
When it does leave that connection and you drink from it- if it tastes like plastic then it probably is leaching plastic chemicals into the water source.
Bisphenol-A (commonly known as BPA) and phthalates, which are called “everywhere chemicals” because they are so common, are used in making countless plastic products that we see and use every day. BPA is used in hard, clear plastic-like bottled water Phthalates help make plastic, flexible.
It is believed that both BPA and phthalates can leach from plastic into food and liquid. BPA is in many plastic items including garden hoses and other items used in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house. For example, many plastic storage containers and cups contain BPA,
Lead, BPA, and phthalates are used in garden hoses mainly to stabilize the plastics. The most common plastic is polyvinyl chloride or PVC is the 3rd most used and widely produced synthetic polymer of plastic that may release toxic vinyl chloride. Antimony and bromine are components of flame-retardant chemicals. When consumed, especially over periods of time these chemicals are likely to cause health problems.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used to help dissolve other materials. Phthalates are in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, and lubricating oils. Some phthalates are in polyvinyl chloride plastics, which are used to make products such as plastic packaging, garden hoses, and medical tubing.
PCBs were banned by the EPA in 1977, so any PCBs found in water could be from decades prior to when they were made. Is there bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical resin used in manufacturing plastics, in your drinking water?
Garden hoses are made of materials like rubber, silicone, and plastics. These materials contain harmful chemicals and metals that can leak into the water thereby causing any number of health complications especially if used all the time.
Drinking Water Hose
A certified safe drinking water hose that is used for freshwater drinking, camping in Rvs, bathing, and cooking is known as potable. Potable water hoses are made with safe materials that do not contain any toxic chemicals.
The best water hoses are also BPA and lead and Phthalate-free. They should be tagged and listed as such or don’t buy them. Best of all they will last longer and won’t break down in the sun.
New materials and piping and flexible Food-Grade Water Hoses used for irrigation and any outside home duty are 100% lead-free, BPA-free, top quality, UV stabilized FDA & NSF grade polyurethane that is safe to use in fresh potable water transfer for camping, RVs, and rain harvesting. Like this one found on Amazon called Water Right PSH2-100-MG 500 Series Hose, 100-Foot,
Water purification systems are available that claim to remove BPA as well as other impurities that contribute to water quality. These filtration systems use a technology called micro-filtration. However, not every water filtration or purification system uses this technology, so buying a standard water filter may not remove BPA.
Check with the manufacturer and research the filter. In-line Water Filters are available to connect to hoses that will be used for transferring drinking water supply to campers or RV water tanks.
When you are finished playing with the kids on your next camping trip, you can line up and gulp down some hose water like you did when you were a kid but this time you won’t taste what the water hose is made of. You’ll just have to use your imagination!
Thought Co.- By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Is It Safe to Drink Water from a Hose?
Westchester County Gov.com- BPA and phthalates
CDC- Center for Disease Control