Toxic Chemicals Found in Gardening Products


| 5/16/2012 12:22:49 PM


Tags: Toxic Chemicals, Garden Products, Ecology Center, HealthyStuff.org, BPA, Flame Retardants, Press Release,

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 

  • HealthyStuff.org screened 179 common garden products, including garden hoses (90); garden gloves (53); kneeling pads (13) and garden tools (23). Two-thirds (70.4%) of these products had chemical levels of "high concern."
  • 30% of all products contained over 100 ppm lead in one or more component. 100 ppm is the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard (CPSC) for lead in children's products.
  • 100% of the garden hoses sampled for phthalates contained four phthalate plasticizers which are currently banned in children's products.
  • Two water hoses contained the hazardous flame retardant 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH).

What Was Found in the Water 

  • Water sampled from one hose contained 0.280 mg/l (ppm) lead.  This is 18-times higher than the federal drinking water standard of 0.015 mg/l.   
  • BPA levels of 2.3 ppm was found in the hose water. This level is 20-times higher than the 0.100 ppm safe drinking water level used by NSF to verify that consumers are not being exposed to levels of a chemical that exceed regulated levels.
  • The phthalate DEHP was found at 0.025 ppm in the hose water. This level is 4-times higher than federal drinking water standards. EPA and FDA regulate DEHP in water at 0.006 mg/l (ppm).

What You Can Do 




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