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News :: Environment
Dangerous Lead Levels in Seemingly Innocent Garden Hoses
17 Jul 2007
"In other words, we have threatened an estimated 88% of American children with a lowered IQ from lead poisoning, sometimes called the "silent epidemic." - 'Living in the Environment', Seventh Edition, G. Tyner Miller, Jr. Page 559.
For Immediate Release
Urgent Action Required
Dated: July 16, 2007
8:53pm CST

(Urgent: July 16, 2007, USA) - Some people seem to be missing the point. If the argument is: "I drank out of garden hoses, and ain't nothin' wrong with me or mine": If you are over 35, you never drank out of (as a child) a pvc garden hose.

If your argument is: your water comes to your house, and is distributed throughout your house by PVC pipes; again, you are right. However; we spent three decades, eliminating copper pipes from homes, because the lead solder on those pipes would, indeed, leach lead into homes, and the familial drinking supply, and affect children as a neurotoxin, causing neurological disorders.

If your argument is that PVC is safe; indeed, it is safe, in certain conditions. The idea that all PVC products are safe, is untrue. The argument against using PVC in garden hoses has been based, solely on, the disintegration of PVC in sunlight. Obviously, PVC pipe used, underground, from your municipal water supply, to your house, and throughout your house, is far safer than using copper pipes and lead solder. The problem, has always been with the breakdown of PVC's in sunlight. And, that brings us back to garden hoses.

I never let my children drink out of garden hoses. And, that was because of the breakdown of PVC's in sunlight. And, that was in the 70's -90's. And, now, someone has thought it a good idea to use lead in garden hoses!

If it was a bad idea to use it in old plumbing, which we "fixed" with PVC pipes; and, it was a bad idea to use lead in paint; which we have been removing for three decades; and, it was a bad idea to add lead to gasoline, which we spent two decades removing, and the reason that all gasoline is now "unleaded"; why the hell would it be a good idea to add lead to PVC as a stabilizer for a dirty plastic? Because it wouldn't leach? Because it wouldn't affect the next generation? I don't think so!

So, for all you nay-sayers, I will quote from authority: " Each year, 12,000 to 16,000 American children (mostly poor and non-white) are treated for acute lead poisoning (caused mostly by ingesting chips of lead based paint), and about 200 die. About 30% of those who survive suffer from palsy, partial paralysis, blindness, and mental retardation."

"In other words, we have threatened an estimated 88% of American children with a lowered IQ from lead poisoning, sometimes called the "silent epidemic." According to the Public Health Service: "Lead-induced reductions in IQ not only place the individual at a disadvantage, but also eventually place the nation at a collective disadvantage in an increasingly competitive, technical, and cognitive-intensive world economy." Officials at the Center for Disease Control recommend that all preschool children be tested for lead as early as age one. ("Living in the Environment", Miller; 1992, pg.559).

And, so, are we going to disregard the gains of the last thirty years, and let garden hoses with dangerous levels of lead be sold to the public, without warning the public, and without any public sense of responsibility? I think not. And, the only way to gain corporate responsibility is to demand it by the public responsibility! Corporations are not going to do a thing about this issue until WE demand that they do so!

But, the first step is informing the public of the health hazard. The next step is DEMANDING corporate responsibility, accountability, and ACTION against selling garden hoses with lead stabilizers.

* Melissa Rabe is a writer living and working in the Heartland. She encourages your comments and questions about the properties of lead and lead poisoning. You may comtact Ms Rabe at this email address: GMMJDRABE [at]

This work is in the public domain
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