You may remember back to the days when you were a kid, and your parents would tell you not to drink out of the hose. The water definitely tastes a little funky, but it sure beats going inside to get water when you're in the middle of your game. Now, your kids have gotten the idea to drink from the hose, and you're starting to worry about whether it's actually safe or not.
Is Your Faucet Tap Safe?
Most homes have an exterior faucet tap for a garden hose that is made of brass. This metal stands up to the toughest of outdoor elements and doesn't corrode. However, brass is not a material that is regulated by any safety administration. In fact, it's noted to maintain high levels of lead, which can be extremely harmful to humans. As water flows through the brass faucet tap, it can be easily contaminated with lead.
Taking a Drink from A Hose
While the water coming from the outside tap is the same water that flows into your home, the similarities stop there. All the fittings, connections, and piping inside your home are crafted with contamination-resistant materials. These indoor plumbing features are safely regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to ensure that the water inside of your home is safe for your health.
Garden hoses are not regulated by this act. Therefore, they can contain a range of chemicals not intended for ingestion. Some of the most common are:
- BPA (bisphenol A)
Many of these substances are necessary in the making of traditional garden hoses. For example bromine and antimony are chemicals that make your hose flame retardant. BPA is commonly used to construct clear, hard plastic. While external contact with garden hoses doesn’t expose you to these chemicals, over time and with enough exposure to the elements, hoses start to break down, depositing small amounts of these chemicals into the water that flows through them.
What Are Drinking Water Safe Hoses?
If you've taken any time to look at the variety of hoses that are available at your local hardware store, you may have identified hoses that are labeled DWS. This acronym stands for drinking water safe. So, does this mean that you can switch out your garden hose for one of these DWS hoses and make your water safe to drink?
It's a little more complicated than that. DWS hoses are made with safety in mind. They don't contain lead, zinc, or brass, and are made with a specialized barrier to ensure that the materials used to construct the hose don't leech and contaminate the water going through it.
DWS hoses are ideal for tasks like filling up your potable water tank on your RV or camper, and they’re a much safer alternative than using a traditional garden hose to quench your thirst.
Tips to Ensure Safe Drinking Water
While you can utilize DWS hoses to transfer drinking water, you need to be mindful of the transfer's other aspects. First, if you're connected to an outdoor faucet made of brass, the brass's lead could still contaminate the water. It's best to let the water run for a few minutes before starting to fill your tank. This will allow the lead buildup on the brass to be flushed out first.
Secondly, although new water coming from the tap through your hose will be drinking water safe, oftentimes hoses will contain small amounts of stagnant water from your previous gardening task. Stagnant water can harbor a range of parasites and bacteria, and isn’t safe to drink. To avoid any stagnation, we recommend you disconnect the hose and completely drain any water from it after each use. Making this a regular practice is just one more step that ensures the safest hose water for your family.
Finally, consider a specialized faucet rated safe for drinking water. By combining a DWS hose and safe faucet, you'll be well on your way to enjoying safe, potable water from the hose.
Introducing Drinking-Water-Safe Hoses from Swan Hose
Swan Hose is a leading manufacturer of cutting-edge water hoses that benefit both our customers and the environment. Our rubber and soaker hoses are not only ready for most demanding applications, they are lead-free and drinking water safe. Another DWS hose produced by the makers at Swan is The Element. This is a premium line of garden hoses that is eco-friendly and is free of lead as well as harmful phthalates. It's compliant with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and we recommend this line for organic farmers and health-conscious consumers.
For more general information on hoses, read the following articles: