Originally Published: June 30, 2019
Updated: July 2, 2021
Who doesn’t have the childhood memory of the sensation of putting their mouth up against the cool bubbling water right at the end of the hose to drink on a hot summer day? I certainly do!
The concern for Lead in hoses is two-fold:
- potential contamination of water from Lead in the tubing of the hose
- potential exposure to children who put their mouth on the end of the hose to drink.
While many hose brands are currently marketed as being Lead-free, most hose ends are made of high-Lead brass. Given children often put their mouth right up against these high-Lead hose-ends when drinking from a hose, this makes traditional hoses potentially considerably unsafe for children to use.
Exact XRF test results for the hose pictured
When tested with an XRF instrument (for a minimum of 30 seconds), the brass end of the hose pictured here had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 22,300 +/- 1,000 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 512 +/- 192 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 9,409 +/- 425 ppm
[This hose-end was negative for: Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic, Barium, Chromium and Selenium.]
How much Lead is unsafe for children?
The amount of Lead that is considered toxic in a newly-manufactured item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint or coating or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate (or base material) of a product. As this relates to hoses, the “100 ppm” level would apply as the brass is (more-often-than-not) uncoated raw yellow (or silver) brass.
Why is it legal for hoses to have so much Lead?
Hoses are NOT considered to be “items intended for use by children” – and, as such, are not regulated to the same standards as items intended for children. Hoses (both the end caps and the main rubber or plastic tubing part of the hose) are legally allowed to contain Lead (either as an additive or at levels that might be considered a contaminant.)
What is the solution?
The good news for us is that there are TRULY Lead-free hoses available for purchase today. You can check out this link for a discount code (just for my readers!) to a company that has American Made 100% Lead-free hoses available (including the ends and tubing.) For my family I only buy hoses that are 100% Lead-free (in tubing and hardware) for my home and garden.
Some additional reading:
- You can read a detailed discussion about the concern for Lead in garden hoses here.
- All of my other posts about garden hoses in one place.
- All of my posts about gardening (including hoses!)
- This post has more information about the testing methodology used for the results reported here on the Lead Safe Mama website.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts. As always, please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them personally as soon as I have a moment.