If you’ve ever been out in the backyard on a scorching hot day, you might have asked yourself is it safe to drink water from a garden hose? We obviously use the water to give our plants a good drink and also fill up outside bowls for our dogs or cats but so many people don’t know whether or not, can you safely drink from a garden hose?
On the face of it, the water looks exactly the same as the type you get from the inside tap in your kitchen or bathroom. Is it piped to your house through the same source? Or is there a separate supply for garden taps than your house?
This post will give you the answer you need and give you a definitive answer to is it okay to drink from a garden hose?
*You might also like: Our Top Pick For Garden Hoses.
WHERE DOES THE WATER COME FROM?
Usually, the stuff that comes out of your garden hose is the exact same H2O that is found in your inside taps. Water pipes run underground into your street and then split into different properties or groups of properties. The water that is sent to your home is treated at a water treatment plant and made safe to drink. In some countries, fluoride is added to help strengthen people’s teeth.
The difference is with this water is what is used to carry it. Pipes and fittings in your home are designed specifically to avoid contamination of the water as the primary purpose is to use it as a safe drinking source. In a garden hose, however, this isn’t usually the case as it is assumed the water hose will never be used to deliver water for human consumption.
A study on 200 garden hoses, found there were toxins present in the contents that was sent through a garden hose. The report found that PVC hoses saw a level of lead, bromine, antimony and phthalates. The non-PVC hoses did not contain these chemicals.
BPA, a chemical found in plastic, could also get into your water through the garden hose. You may have seen products being advertised as “BPA-free” after concerns were raised about the harms it does to humans including raising blood pressure. This can be exacerbated by heat, so if your hose is left in the sun with water still inside of it, the contents could become contaminated with BPA much more easily.
However, the hoses marketed as “drinking water safe” had none of these chemicals – therefore living up to their claims.
*You might also like: How To Bury Your Garden Hose.
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
Most garden taps, fixtures, and fittings are made of metal – mainly brass. Lead is found in brass and consumption of lead can cause poisoning. Water that sits in the pipes for a while can see more of this metal-borne toxin leaching into the water supply. Even if you open the tap and let the garden hose run and run before taking a drink, you can’t guarantee that the fluid inside won’t be contaminated with the chemicals from the metal.
Unlike house pipework, these pipes are not coated so they could rust which would add further contamination to the drinking source– even if it looks perfectly clear.
HOSE WATER IS NOT MONITORED FOR CLEANLINESS AND SAFETY
Aside from the chemicals found in the stuff piped through your garden hose, this water isn’t checked for quality. While you can rest assured the drinking material in your home is going through approved pipes and fittings, the pipes supplying your outside tap, and even the hose itself could be full of bacteria and mold.
The Environmental Protection Agency monitors the drinking material supply through the Safe Drinking Water Act. At regular intervals, test samples are taken from different drinking water supplies and tested for any impurities or chemicals. While the water comes from the same source, they are checking the fluid that is going through household pipes rather than to an outside tap so although when it leaves the plant it may be perfectly safe, if it travels through unsafe pipes or fittings it could become contaminated.
Most people don’t worry about disinfecting their outside taps so there is a chance for germs to multiply on your outside fittings, especially when using them for outdoor activities and water games. They are exposed to the elements so you could find wildlife getting close to your outside water supply which could introduce diseases.
In conclusion, it really isn’t a good idea to drink from a garden hose. Apart from the fact you can’t be sure what is actually in the material because it is not monitored in the same way as water that comes through the pipes directly into your house, it may also pick up extra toxins or pollutants through your garden hose or fixtures and fittings.
Although the water may look crystal clear and it could be very tempting just to fill a glass up on a hot summer’s day, you’re definitely better off to walk back into the house and get your water from the kitchen tap.
If you really want to be able to drink from the garden hose, then the safest way to do this is to buy a specific hose that is labeled as “drinking water safe”. These can be a little more expensive but worth the expense if you know you will want to use the hose for a drinking source.
Hopefully, this article has answered the question is it safe to drink water from a garden hose? Once and for all. If you’ve found it helpful, please share it on with your friends and family or comment below.