Ahhh … summer is finally here.  And with it brings the welcome return of backyard barbeques, the familiar smell of fresh cut grass -- and the Ecology Center’s failed annual attempt to scare us about our (*wait for it*) PVC garden hoses.

Garden hoses.

Not one to let any possible fundraising opportunity go unexploited, this rather strange annual ritual by the Ecology Center’s PR team dates back to at least 2011.  And judging by the complete lack of interest in this year’s effort, even the Center’s most committed followers must be scratching their heads, wondering if this sad yearly publicity stunt has finally run its course.

The Center’s unequivocal mission in issuing this report is to spread fear about the health of consuming PVC hose water. But they discreetly acknowledge at the very end that their ratings “do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product …”

Which is the equivalent of saying, “We want to terrify you about your PVC hose because it helps our fundraising. But we’re not making any judgments here about the health of consuming hose water.”

Plastics Today’s Clare Goldsberry captured the Center’s duplicity best:

“It seems that nothing is safe from the plastic fear mongers. … I was lucky I had time to look into this story and question its merits. I was able to ignore the hysteria and consider the facts. 
“This isn’t the first such report. In researching this so-called problem, I found that every summer—usually in June or the first part of July—Healthy Stuff releases its newest report on toxic garden hoses. This is to ensure you get your summer off to a fearful start. These reports go back as far as 2012, with one appearing on July 3, 2014, then updated on June 29, 2015.
“Some were found to contain bromine (used in flame retardants just in case your hose catches on fire); antimony (a mineral found in batteries, glasses and pottery. Oops! Throw out the glassware and stoneware! The ancient Egyptians used it as eyeliner); and tin (don’t carry your water in a metal bucket—it might have tin in it). 

“The advice to ‘let the hose run until the water sitting in the hose is now in the ground’ is a waste of water. Avoid the sun by storing the hose in the shade—sorry, but here in the desert southwest when it’s 115 degrees that doesn’t even work in the shade! In fact, that’s a good deterrent to drinking from the water hose in Phoenix because you’ll burn your tongue off! Talk about health problems! You’ll never taste a steak from the barbeque again! Oh, I forgot, charcoal briquettes are also toxic.”

So. … What’s the next seasonal scare we can expect from the Ecology Center brain-trust?  Look for the group’s annual back-to-school disinformation assault on vinyl backpacks and related classroom products next month. Where they’ll earn a well-deserved “A” in Deception, and an “F” for Creativity.