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Toxic Chemicals Found in Gardening Products

High amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after sitting outside in the sun for just a few days, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, who just completed a large study of toxic chemicals in gardening products.

Nearly 200 hoses, gloves, kneeling pads and tools were tested for lead, cadmium, bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC); phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Such chemicals have been linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, premature births and early puberty in laboratory animals, among other serious health problems. Results were released today at www.HealthyStuff.org.

"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. "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."

Highlights of Findings 

What Was Found in the Water 

What You Can Do 

"Gardening products, including water hoses, are completely unregulated and often fail to meet drinking water standards that apply to other products, yet again demonstrating the complete failure of our federal chemicals regulatory system," said Gearhart. "Our children will never be safe until we reform our laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves."

For more details on what the Ecology Center researchers found, and what you can do to avoid toxic chemicals this gardening season, visit www.HealthyStuff.org.

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