By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whether it’s washing the car or watering plants in the yard, hoses get plenty of use in the summer. And while it might be tempting to take a drink from the hose, experts say it could be dangerous.

“Probably the biggest risk is some of the chemicals that are in the water itself,” Dr. Dan Allan of the Cleveland Clinic said. “Many garden hoses are not made for drinking water and so they’ll release lead.”

Lead is found in the brass fixtures at the mouth of gardening hoses. One test showed that levels of lead in the water coming from hoses exceeded legal safe levels.

Dr. Allan said there are other harmful things such as, “different chemicals in the plastics, much like a lot of the plastics that have been banned in kids’ products.”

Hoses can also contain Bisphenol A and polyvinyl chloride.

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Ingesting them can increase the risk of cancer, hormone issues or neurological problems, and can affect development in children.

“You have to let it run for a couple of minutes to make sure you’re safe,” Dr. Allan said.

If you really want to drink from a hose, letting the water run will get rid of most of the contaminated water. It’s also important to check the hose fitting.

“If it’s brass, that will release a lot of lead,” Dr. Allan explained. “And if you run the water for enough time to flush the hose, that first bit of water that was up by the brass fitting is going to be loaded with lead.”

Experts say an occasional drink from a hose probably won’t cause problems for healthy people. But if you don’t want to take any chances, there are hoses
that don’t release any chemicals that are made from natural rubber or polyurethane.