Your seemingly innocuous garden hose may be brewing up a dangerous cocktail. Before taking another drink, consider investing in a chemical-free, drinking-water-safe option.
A vast majority of garden hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contains harmful lead that leeches into water in levels deemed unsafe to drink. And, while it is believed that plants don't absorb lead, I can't stand the idea of spraying my garden, especially my herb and vegetable containers, with lead-ridden water. Fortunately, there is a new breed of PVC-free garden hoses made with FDA-approved materials that are not only drinking-water safe but also durable and lightweight.
N.B: Even with drink-safe hoses, it's important to let the water run until it's cold before you drink it, as contaminants can grow in warm standing water.
Above: The eggplant-colored Heritage Garden Hose is made from chemical-free polyurethane that is also resistant to cracks and leaks. The 50-foot hose has chrome-plated, solid brass fittings; $58 at Terrain.
Above: The Slim and Light Professional Garden Hose is lightweight (it only weighs 3 pounds per 50 feet), soft, strong, and flexible. The ultra slim hose is made from FDA and NSF approved food-safe polyurethane that is 100 percent free from toxins and it won’t kink or crack. Made by Water Right, a family-owned company in Oregon, it is available in orange and olive and in a 50- or a 100-foot length; $59.99 and $99.99 respectively at Williams-Sonoma.
Above: Also from Water Right, the 50-Foot Coil Garden Hose is ideal for small urban or balcony gardens (longer coil hoses are also available). Manufactured in the US using FDA-grade drinking-water-safe polyurethane and commercial grade machined brass fittings that are plated to prevent lead from leaching into the water; $69.95.
Above: The Armadillo Garden Hose features a galvanized steel outer shell over reinforced nylon-grade tubing. The couplings are nickel-plated and crush-proof (ever ruin your hose by backing over it with a car?). Resistant to pets (and rodents) who like to chew, it is available in seven standard lengths ranging from 6 to 100 feet; $177.95 for the 50-foot length at Wayfair.
Above: The GatorHyde Drinking Water Safe Garden Hose is made with 50-percent recycled polyurethane and nickel plated ends. The company claims that "it's up to two times lighter and yet three times more durable than other leading garden hoses on the market." It's $54.47 for the 50-foot length through Amazon.
For an old-fashioned irrigation option, see Metal Watering Cans in Primary Colors.