I was already feeling betrayed last week, after discovering that a number of nozzle manufacturers include lead, a potent neurotoxin, in the nozzles they make for garden hoses–as if we gardeners don’t care that we’re spraying potentially toxic water onto our vegetables and herbs.
Well, guess what? The hose you attach that nozzle to may be equally hazardous to your health. A couple days after I purchased the XHose, I read the box more closely. There I discovered this notice, which somehow had gone unnoticed amidst all the bold-faced exclamations about the product’s many virtues:
“CALIF. PROP. 65 WARNING:
This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
And just above that: “Not for Use with Drinking Water, Not Potable.”
Granted, I’m not planning to drink out of the hose. But neither do I want to water my herbs and vegetables with unnamed carcinogens and teratogens, which presumably I will eat too when I consume the plants. Do the manufacturers really think we’re that stupid? After discovering those warnings, it took me about five minutes to march outside and disconnect the XHose.
But fortunately, I am not left high and dry. It turns out there is at least one manufacturer with a conscience. I’m ordering the Super-Slim Coil Hose from the Gardener’s Supply Company. Sure, it costs twice as much as a similar one in my local hardware store. But it also has the words I’m looking for in the product description: “Drinking-water safe.”
In the meantime, I’m left with a scary thought: If this is what we get when we grow our own food—and supposedly know where it comes from and how safe it is—what do we get with the produce from giant agribusiness?
See related post: Nozzlegate-Scandal in the Garden