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Study: Toxic chemicals found in water hoses, gardening tools

Talk about a summer bummer. As reported by the Huffington Post, a new study by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, MI, has found that the water from general garden hoses is often toxic and potentially dangerous. The study, which also tested gloves, kneepads and other gardening tools, discovered a host of chemicals, including cadmium, BPA and lead at levels considered of “high concern” in over two-thirds of the products. All of the hoses tested positive for phthalates, a plasticizer that’s been connected to hormone disruption, genital birth defects in boys and breast cancer, among other illnesses.

“Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center in a press release. “The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses, and non-PVC tools and work gloves, are all better choices.”

The study suggests replacing any sketchy hoses with a new PVC-free one marked “lead-free” or “drinking water safe” before drinking from it. Other tips include storing hoses in the shade (heat from the sun can increase chemical leaching) and letting water run from a hose for a few seconds before using it.