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I've read this well-researched post Garden Hoses: how safe are they? But it focuses on hoses.

My question is about a hose reel. I've seen enough "drinking water safe" hoses (usually polyurethane and rubber), but I am yet to find a "drinking water safe" hose reel. On the contrary, any hose reel that is sold in US as well (I am in Canada), has the California Prop 65 warning. Those that don't have the warning are Canadian only, therefore they don't require a California warning.

So, with that in mind, what should I be looking for in a hose reel, to make sure it is "drinking water safe"?

  • Are "solid brass fittings" automatically a no-no? (The "drinking water safe" hoses usually have chrome-plated brass fittings).
  • What about plastic connector fittings, like Gardena? Are they safe as long as they are PVC-free?
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    I never thought about brass fittings on a hose reel, but I would assume that they would contain some lead for manufacturing the item, but I don't know what levels it would contain. I was going to suggest attaching one of those blue RV water filters (Camco), but they only handle chlorine/chloramine in the water and sulfur/rotten egg water taste, but looking online it doesn't appear to address lead or other heavy metals. – Charles Byrne May 11 '16 at 20:49
  • IF you did it as a kid, why couldn't you do it as an adult? – black thumb May 11 '16 at 21:01
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    @blackthumb, Firstly, never in my life did it even cross my mind to drink from a garden hose, so no: I didn't do it as a kid. Secondly, our parents and grandparents lived in houses with lead paint and asbestos and didn't know any better. Doesn't make it safe, just makes them lucky they survived without incidents. Lastly, advances in technology is what introduces new unknowns. Back in the day, we had plain old rubber houses: they smelled, but they were/still are safer. – Slav May 12 '16 at 14:28
  • Ya know, whether you are using hose, hose reel or not, the recommendation before drinking water from your faucet is to let the water run and flush the system before you pour yourself a glass. That's to let any built up impurities from your plumbing to flush through first. – Escoce May 12 '16 at 17:30
  • @Escoce and running water does not pick up any lead contamination from the coupling? I seriously don't know, hence me asking. – Slav May 12 '16 at 19:05
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I've been looking for a drinking water safe garden hose reel for years, but never been able to find one that I was comfortable using, so I've been forced to just coil my hoses up on the ground. But just recently, Eley has redesigned the internal plumbing on their garden hose reels and they are now drinking water safe. 🎉

You can get them here.

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It's a miracle so many of us survived childhood. I drank from hoses all the time, and I've lived to tell the story. Even so, it's not a safe practice.

As you know, there are several "drinking water safe" hoses out there. Using a reel, as I also do, is efficient, but does little to prevent the growth of bacteria in the residual water left in the hose. I use gravity to empty my hoses before winding up, but there's no way to "dry-out" a hose, making it an ideal bacteria farm.

Plus, little critters enjoy a nice drink also. Seen or unseen, you can bet there are insects and spiders enjoying a drink from your hose.

Look for "Lead Free, BPA free, and phthalate free" hoses, often marketed for RV's, boating, and camping. I'd avoid brass fitting for the metallic taste alone. If you want to continue using your current reel set-up, consider adding a filter, such as "Camco 40043 TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector," which over 12,000 Amazon reviewers seen to like.
Cheers, Slav!
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    LaBelle, welcome! This is a well-written, excellent post about food safe hoses. But the original poster explicitly stated that he was searching for information about fittings and hose reels. One of the basic rules here is "answer the question". Can you edit your post to adress that topic as well? Giving additional information is absolutely appreciated, though! We'd love to read more of you and until then, I suggest you take the tour and visit our help center to learn more about the site. Again: Welcome to Gardening SE! – Stephie May 12 '16 at 19:14
  • I like your comment about RV stuff, but I still cannot find a safe reel – Slav May 16 '16 at 20:06

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