A Mother's Day Gone Toxic--Watch Out for those Gardening Tools

photo: hose, toxic chemicals, gardening

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! If your mom has a green thumb, make sure you know which gardening equipment to buy her this year.

According to our partners at HealthyStuff.org some of those gardening tools contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals.  HealthyStuff.org  tested 179 gardening products, including hoses, knee cushions, tools, and gloves. They looked for the presence of lead, bromine, phthalates, BPA, cadmium, and chlorine (in PVC), and released their findings last week.

More than two-thirds of the products tested had chemicals levels of “high concern.” Thirty percent had at least one component with more than the standards put out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Water sampled from the hoses had frighteningly high amounts of these chemicals.  Hose water contained BPA concentrations 20 times greater than those recommended by the National Science Foundation. Levels of the phthalate DEHP were 4 times higher than the federal drinking water standards. And water from one of the hoses had levels of lead 4 times higher than the standard. 

The chemicals found in these products have been linked to birth defects, liver toxicity, impaired learning, and other health effects. Yet garden products, like so many other products on the market, are completely unregulated. As Jeff Gearhart, research director at HealthyStuff.org, explains, “our children will never be safe until we reform our laws to ensure products are safe before they arrive on store shelves.”

Michigan LCV Education Fund agrees. We need comprehensive legislation that regulates chemicals in all the products we use, from toys to hoses to garden gloves. We need your help to pass the Safe Chemicals Act.

But until our nation makes our products safer, there are things you can do to keep your mom gardening safely this Mother’s Day:

  • Buy non-PVC gardening tools and gloves.
  • Buy hoses made of natural rubber or polyurethane, and that are “drinking water safe” and “lead-free”
  • Don’t keep your hoses out in the sun.
  • Before using your hose, let the water that’s been sitting in it (and acquiring chemicals) run out for a few seconds

TAKE ACTION! Sign the petition to push our legislators to pass the Safe Chemicals Act. This act would require that chemicals be proven safe before the products they are in are put on the market.

Results from specific products from HealthyStuff.org (use these to pick out a new hose for your mom).

Interested in toxic chemical issues and more? Learn about our work:  Sign up for the Michigan LCV e-newsletter.