When it's scorching hot out this summer, you may want to think twice before drinking from the garden hose.
Lead is found in the brass fixtures at the mouth of gardening hoses and, out of the of 90 garden hoses screened, 33 percent of products contained levels of lead that exceeded those considered safe for children.
Garden hoses are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which monitors the nation's public drinking supply. The study's findings showed that levels of lead in water coming from garden hoses they tested exceeded legal safe levels 100 percent of the time.
But lead wasn't the only dangerous material found in the water. According to the study, the water also contained plastic additives including phthalates —or plasticizers — and bisphenol A (BPA) that were "found to migrate out of the hose material into water contained in the hose."
The Food and Drug Administration defines BPA as an industrial chemical used to make hard, clear plastic. According to the FDA website, the National Institutes of Health is concerned with the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.
The study found levels of BPA at 20 times higher than those of safe drinking water levels.
The study reported that 100 percent of the garden hoses sampled contained several plasticizers currently banned in children's products. According to Health Stuff, consumption of these hazardous plasticizers can disturb normal hormonal processes and are linked to birth defects, altered levels of reproductive hormones, increased breast cancer risk, and asthma.
Though you'd likely have to drink a fair amount of affected garden hose water to see health consequences, the Ecology Center warns that even low levels of lead may create health problems.
Garden hoses containing lead typically will have warnings on their packaging and others will indicate if they are lead-free.
1. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.es_at_home" target="_hplink">Energy Savings For Your Home</a> <br> The average home spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. These cooling bills can be lowered by simply changing out incandescent light bulbs with EPA's Energy Star qualified lighting, which use less energy and produce approximately 75 percent less heat. Raising your thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent too.
Obey the speed limit; go easy on the brakes and avoid hard accelerations; reduce your time idling; and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you're not using your removable roof rack take it off to improve your fuel economy.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and is the most common cancer among 20 to 30-year-olds. Remember to practice safe sun habits.
Americans take almost two billion trips to the beach every year. Beaches are a place to play, watch wildlife, fish, and swim. Learn more on how to plan a safe trip to the beach and check out state specific beach advisory and closing notifications.
The AirNow app gives location-specific current air quality information to use to protect your health when planning daily activities and the Ultraviolet (UV) Index app provides daily and hourly forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun so you can better prevent overexposure to the sun.
Almost 40 years ago, EPA's Documerica project captured thousands of images across the nation as EPA's work was just beginning. Now it's your chance to mark the progress and submit environmental photos to EPA's State of the Environment photo project.
Mosquitoes and ticks can carry diseases but you can protect yourself by choosing the right repellent and using it correctly. Read the product label before using; apply just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing; and look for the protection time that meets your needs. Children can use the same repellents as adults unless there is a restriction on the label.
8. Water Wisely
A large percentage of water we use at home is used outdoors. As much as 30 percent of that outdoor water use can be wasted due to evaporation by watering in the middle of the day. Water in the morning when winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Look for the new WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controller that uses local weather data to determine whether your sprinkler system should turn on.
If you're going to wash the car, deck, boat, or RV- be sure to look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label to quickly identify and choose cleaning products that are safer for families and also help protect the environment. Look for the DfE label on grill cleaners as well.
About 90 percent of people's time is spent indoors. While inside this summer, make sure to free your house of mold, test your home for radon, check your carbon monoxide detector and ask those who smoke to go outdoors.
On average, America's 47,000 hotels spend more than $2,000 per available room each year on energy. Look for an Energy Star certified hotel--they perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use an average of 35 percent less energy and emit an average of 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than peers.
Each year, Americans generate millions of tons of waste in homes and communities but it's easy to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycled items such as glass can be used in roadway asphalt (glassphalt) and recovered plastic can be used in carpeting and park benches. Learn what you can do to waste less.
13. Season Firewood
Summer is a great time to season firewood in preparation for fall and winter. Remember to split firewood to the proper size for your wood stove or fireplace, but no larger than 6 inches in diameter; stack firewood to allow air to circulate around it; cover the top of the stack to protect it from the rain; and store your firewood for at least 6 months before using it.
Composting can be a fun and educational summer project that saves landfill space, helps feed the soil and prevents methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Keep the creativity flowing beyond the school year and into the summer by submitting a meaningful story or idea in just six words.
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In this episode we teach you how to make your own high spf, water proof sunblock from organic and natural ingredients for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it off the shelf. Ingredients include- zinc oxide (sunblocking agent), coconut oil (soothes and conditions skin), bee's wax (waterproofing agent), and tea tree oil (soothes and repairs skin and smells good too). Rub on and paddle out.