published Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Ask a Doctor: Is it safe to drink from a water hose?

Q: Is it safe to drink from a water hose?

A: Many of us have memories of playing in the yard, in the sprinklers and drinking cold, clear water from our garden hoses during hot summer months. Recent studies reveal potential hazards of drinking from currently available garden hoses.

The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., found that "100 percent of the garden hoses sampled contained several plasticizers currently banned in children's products." Plasticizers can affect hormonal processes and are linked to birth defects, altered levels of reproductive hormones, increased breast cancer risk and asthma.

The study also found BPA, a product used in hard plastics, at 20 times the currently acceptable levels. BPA recently was removed from children's products due to concerns of potential effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children.

Garden hoses also were found to contain unsafe levels of lead. Despite our fond memories, current recommendations are that children not drink from garden hoses due to these toxins.

-- Dr. Nita Shumaker, pediatrician, Galen Medical Group; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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