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Yummy Lead.

>> Friday, July 2, 2010

I do my darndest to keep my gardens organic, particularly the veggie and herb gardens.

Confession: the only times I have thus far stooped to non-organic options at this house are 1) when I have found poison ivy growing smack in the middle of my flower garden, and very nearly grabbed it with my bare hand thinking it was an ordinary weed, and 2) last summer when the aphid infestation on the front privet got so bad that I couldn't see the privet for the bugs, and they failed to respond at all to organic anti-aphid stuff.  Even I have my limits, and those limits are all about the ick factor of poison ivy (which makes me shudder to the very core of my being) and so many bugs the object they're on is writhing (which also causes the same sort of gut-deep twitching and then I start to mentally itch all over).

I just had to admit those non-organic moments out loud and get them off my conscience.

Overall, though, I really want my gardens organic.  As an environmental attorney, I have had to learn about the potential health impacts of various chemicals, including a handful of pesticides.  At this point, chemicals pretty much just straight up skeeve me out, including all the metals that exist in our environment naturally but which we humans have managed to concentrate and put in places they oughtn't to be.

Imagine, then, my horror when I went to get a new garden hose this spring, and actually bothered to read the labels on them.  It turns out that all those ordinary ubiquitous green garden hoses are lined with...


Since I had a couple of those green garden hoses in my own yard, I've been inadvertently watering my nice organic veggies and herbs with leaded water.


My handy Ace Hardware store also sold some of the white hoses that are not intended for garden use, but for filling RVs and whatnot with drinking water.  I grabbed several, went home, and promptly disposed of the old green hoses.  But the experience has nagged at me ever since.  I don't know how much lead they really spew out, and as you can imagine, Internet reports vary widely. However, I don't care to take the risk of filling up my gardens with a whole lot of lead over time.

Am I really just that oblivious, and other people all know about the lead hose thing, and I just missed it?  It's entirely possible, since I don't have a TV and don't listen to much radio and sometimes miss out on major pop-culture discussions as a result.  Perhaps everybody but me knows that garden hoses are lead-lined, and you have to be careful at least to flush them well before watering a veggie garden with them.  The lead warnings on those hoses weren't all that bright or eye catching, though, and I wonder how many people are like me, thinking they're doing a great job with pesticide and chemical fertilizer free gardening, but using lead lined hoses? 

I guess I know that there's no way to keep contaminants out of the garden.  There's a tremendous amount of contamination that comes from the air and I just can't do anything about that.  And the water that comes through our pipes is chlorinated and fluoridated and all that good stuff.  And even the non lead-lined hoses are made out of something, in most cases medical-grade vinyl with nickel-plated fittings.  Who knows what-all ick can come out of vinyl, especially as the material breaks down in sun and heat?   Pleh.

Apparently it is possible to think way too much about these things.


Ellen Rathbone July 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM  

Thanks for the heads up! Who knew! And why in the world would anyone line a hose with lead to begin with?!? Sometimes the world just boggles me.

I wonder if drip irrigation lines are also contaminated? Hm.....

b. July 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

We discovered the host-lead thing recently. S looked at every garden hose she could find & was skeeved out that they ALL contained lead. I think she managed to find one, somehwere, that did not (allegedly, anyway). Never thought to try that trick about using a non-garden hose. We did manage to find the one nozzle that was lead free. And now learning that there is lead in CHILDREN'S FOOD (organic as well). It's sickening.

Another lead trap? Vacuum cords. I can't remember where I heard/learned this. But I think a lot of cords contain lead.

Ick, ick, ick.

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