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May 072009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Here we were still searching for a lead-free hose because I forgot to order one earlier and I just couldn’t believe that you can’t pick up such a thing at a nearby store.

Finally, success this past weekend. We found a “lead safe” Swan-brand hose at Lowe’s that claims to have no lead material. So I snatched it up and attached it to my new handy Evo Organics garden blanket.

But being a bit eco-paranoid and weary of the many greenwashing claims that crop up at mainstream stores, I am still wondering about that term “lead safe.” Why not “lead-free”? Wouldn’t that cover it better; be more conclusive? And why does Swan offer another hose that claims to be “drinking water safe” that is made from “medical grade vinyl”?

What’s it all mean!?

Luckily, Swan has answered most these questions quite credibly on its FAQ. The medical grade vinyl is used because it doesn’t contain the trace amounts of lead that turn up in recycled plastic used in many garden hoses.

The other source of lead in garden hoses turns up in the trace amounts used in the brass couplings. Swan hoses use nickel plating over the brass to prevent the lead from coming into contact with the outside world. And hence the term: “lead safe” but not “lead free”.

So go spray down the kids. Wait, we forgot to attach the chlorine filter!

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