SPRINGFIELD – With strong support from local environmental groups, State Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, is sponsoring new legislation to reduce the risk of lead poisoning by banning the sale of garden hoses containing the highly toxic metal.
“Although most of us know that exposure to lead can be incredibly dangerous, especially for children, many people don’t realize that household garden hoses often contain lead,” said Costa Howard. “Most of us wouldn’t think twice about letting our children or pets sneak a drink from the garden hose, filling up an inflatable play pool for toddlers, or turning on a sprinkler for kids to splash around on a hot summer day. It’s frightening to think that our garden hoses actually pose a toxic threat to our families. It’s time for the state of Illinois to get the lead out.”
Costa Howard’s House Bill 4329 prohibits the sale or manufacture of any garden hose that contains lead. The legislation is backed by the Illinois Environmental Council and SCARCE, a Glen Ellyn-based environmental education non-profit organization.
“Federal legislation from 1988 gave companies that produce garden hoses 20 years to remove all of the lead that was inside their products. However when 2008 arrived, they had only decreased the quantity of lead in their hoses instead of removing it entirely. Although a reduction of lead is the first step, they failed to finish the job,” Kay McKeen, director of SCARCE, said. “There is no safe quantity of lead.”
“Water quality is an issue that crosses party lines,” Costa Howard added. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Illinois Environmental Council and its executive director, Jennifer Walling, for raising this issue. This bill will help to keep lead out of our gardens and our water supply. I will work hard to pass this bill swiftly, so we can take an important step toward protecting Illinois families from the dangerous – and preventable – health impacts of all products that contain lead.”