Is Water Safe to Drink From an Outdoor Water Faucet?

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It may be safer to drink water directly from an outdoor tap than to drink the same water through a garden hose. Since 2010, the City of San Francisco has provided free outdoor faucets where people can refill drinking bottles with clean, safe drinking water at no charge.

In the United States, municipal water supplies are very much regulated. The water that comes out of an outdoor residential faucet is as clean and potable as the water that comes from faucets indoors. The same safety regulations do not apply to garden hoses.

Garden hoses may leach unwanted chemicals into any water that passes through them. Known contaminants found in hose water include antimony, bromine and polyvinyl chloride. The Ecology Center in Michigan found traces of heavy metals, phthalates and endocrine-disrupting organotin stabilizers when they tested a random sampling of garden hoses from Kmart, Home Depot, Lowes and other American garden supply stores.