The material in some hoses can leach chemicals, toxins and lead into water.
PUBLISHED: September 21, 2016 at 7:00 am | UPDATED: September 21, 2016 at 9:15 am
John Locher/AP Drinking from a water hose, or using it to fill pet and animal water bowls, is not recommended.
DEAR JOAN: I read about the woman who cleans her shower with more environmentally safe products so her cat could drink water safely out of the shower. Bravo for her taking these steps.
One area that people tend to not be aware of is the amount of lead in their garden hoses. I have pet chickens and several times a week give them fresh water from the hose. I buy a marine grade, drinking water safe hose that is lead free, and I replace it every year as it breaks down in the sun.
I also let the hose run for a good minute before refilling their water fountains. I use the stagnant water in the hose to water plants so it doesn’t go to waste.
I’m sure their are others out there who refill pet bowls or even fill up their bird baths with hose water. Maybe this isn’t as critical for dogs and cats, but since I’m eating my hens’ eggs, I’m really careful about what they eat and drink.
Amy Sanchez, Bay Area
DEAR AMY: I haven’t seen any studies about water hoses and pet health, but it stands to reason if it’s bad for us, it’s bad for them, too.
Officials have been advising against drinking from hoses for several years. Some hoses can contain lead and other toxins, depending on what the hose is made of and what type of fittings it uses.
For those who use a hose to supply water to pets and other animals, it’s recommended that a “safe for drinking” hose be used. You’ll have to read the tags on the various hoses to see which ones meet that standard, but they usually are made of rubber.
If you don’t have a “safe” hose, experts suggest allowing the water to run for a few minutes before filling water bowls and storing the hose out of the sun — two things that also are recommended even for the safe hoses.
Concerns about hose water are real, but there is some debate about how toxic they can be. Apparently you would have to consume a lot of water to get a toxic dose. However, whenever we can be safe, we should, and that goes for drinking from the hose.
DEAR JOAN: I have an orange tree in my backyard and to control the rats, I started using bait years ago when I discovered they were holding a rat convention up there. I stopped using this method when I learned that the rat poison was compromising the health of other animals that would eat the rats.
Recently, when I went out to bring my bird feeder inside at night to prevent the rats from eating it, 6 or 7 rats dropped off the feeder.