Gardeners Beware: Watering Tools

Recently I purchased a gardening wand for watering my garden and container plants.  In tiny lettering along the length of the wand are these words “Note: The brass in this product contains lead. Warning: This product contains one or more chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.”

It’s important for every gardener to understand that gardening hoses, sprayer attachments and watering cans are not held to the same standards as plumbing fixtures with the advent of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Our garden hoses can contain lead and other metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bisphenol A (BPAs).  Leaving gardening hoses and watering cans out in the sun increases the amount of these undesirables in the water.

Be aware that lead, cadmium, VOCs and BPAs have the most pronounced negative effect on the most vulnerable—children.  To err on the side of safety, no one should drink water from the hose, don’t fill your pet’s water bowl from the hose, don’t leave the hose out in the sun, let the water run from the hose for a few minutes before watering the vegetable garden, and wash your hands after handling garden hoses and spray attachments.

Where possible, use gardening hoses, watering cans, and spray attachments that are approved by the FDA and NSF International.  These organizations set product standards for safe and potable water.

Kathleen Cue
Horticulture Program Coordinator at Nebraska Extension

Kathleen serves as a Horticulture Program Coordinator. She educates people on making smart plant choices to reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides in their landscape which has a positive impact on air, water, soil and environmental quality, property values and people’s pocketbooks. She provides leadership and coordination of the NE Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties Master Gardener volunteer programs: the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau, and “Ask the Master Gardener” Consultations.


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