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Why are researchers at singing the praises of Water Right?

Making Healthier, Safer Garden Hoses a Reality

"We decided to focus on function and happy customers, not cost." -- Jeff Thomas (Co-Founder of family-run Water Right Inc.) Jeff and Katrina Thomas are making garden hoses you can drink out of--without consuming a potentially toxic suite of chemicals -- Jeff Gearhart Research Director, a project of the Ecology Center

The couple started Water Right in 2008 with the goal of developing a hose superior to any others on the market. Jeff, who recently spoke with, says the company was formed after years of brainstorming and prototype testing to create a "dream hose." Having been employed in the plastics industry, Jeff was aware of the safety issues that plagued traditional garden hoses and became convinced that a much better product could be made. He and Katrina set out to make the garden hose that nobody else was making, a hose that was "good for people," as he says: a safe, long-lasting, American-made product.

Today, in addition to being extremely durable and easy to handle, Water Right's hoses are free of toxic lead, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. tested over 100 hoses in 2012 and 2013 and found that many are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contains a range of hazardous additives. Many of the hoses contained lead and/or brominated flame retardants. Some hoses were tested specifically for phthalate plasticizers and were found to contain at least one of the phthalate varieties banned in children's products in the United States. Perhaps most alarmingly, water held in tested hoses also showed levels of phthalates and BPA that exceed drinking water standards, demonstrating that these additives migrate from the hose into the water it contains. Garden hoses can thus expose us (and our pets) to harmful chemicals when we water vegetable gardens or play in a sprinkler. When the Ecology Center released its garden-hose study results in 2013, Water Right hoses were among those that tested positive for lead.

In Water Right’s case, lead was in the metal fitting (only). (Water Right Note: The chrome plating used on our fittings prevented any lead leachate and were previously approved for potable water according to California Prop. 65). Jeff Thomas took these results to heart and immediately started drafting ideas to redesign the fitting and make his product (99.9%) lead-free. Jeff was in contact with the Ecology Center throughout the process and made sure that each potential solution he employed was tested for lead and other toxic metals. The story of the Water Right hose shows how companies can use consumer concerns and chemical test results to better their product. The flexible plastic used to manufacture a Water Right hose is food contact-grade polyurethane that provides long-term durability and is drinking water safe. This means the hoses meet regulatory standards for vessels we can drink from. The metal fittings and connectors on the hose are selected to have the lowest possible lead content available -- over 99.9% lead-free as verified by and another independent lab -- and are double-plated with nickel and chrome for extra assurance that they will not leach any lead.

Finally, the long life of a Water Right hose means it will not deteriorate and end up in the trash in a few years like a traditional garden hose. The reception of Water Right hoses has been resoundingly positive. Endorsements have rolled in from the gardening world; retailers are taking notice and are seeking out Water Right for its reputation as the safest and best garden hose on the market. According to Jeff, this reputation has grown by a mostly organic process, driven by word of mouth. A consumer base increasingly informed and concerned about toxic exposures has generated great momentum for the company. Katrina and Jeff, however, are not content to rest on their success in designing and marketing their hoses.

They have ambitious plans for Water Right, as they plan on targeting other products related to water that can be made not only better performing but also safer for humans and our shared environment. Overall, we detected lower concentrations of lead than the results from the Taiwan lab you shared. I don't know for certain, but the discrepancy could be due to non-homogeneous distribution of lead in the metal parts. XRF does not give a homogenized result; it samples a shallow depth into the surface of the metal.

Jeff Gearhart Research Director, a project of the Ecology Center 339 E. Liberty, Suite 300 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Why is polyurethane garden hose as compared to vinyl garden hose (PVC) and why is the cost higher?

Polyurethane is a world-class polymer that has very impressive mechanical properties. It is called an engineered plastic for good reason. It bridges the gap between rubber and plastics and sets the gold-standard for many high-end consumer products...products that require world-class performance, superior abrasion resistance, over-the-top durability and must have an exceptionally long life.

Everything from in-line skates to car bumpers, folding kayaks, golf balls and running shoes use polyurethane.

When you want mind-bending mechanical properties that excel in all categories such as tensile strength, elongation, flexular modulus, compression set and impact look no further.  When it comes to garden hose...why use anything else.

Why does polyurethane cost more than regular PVC garden hose?  

Simple. It boils down to this. The ingredients to produce polyurethane resins are prime. They are highly engineered. They are vastly superior to any other polymer used for garden hose made in the world today. The performance properties of polyurethane are unsurpassed. They just aren't cheap...and what quality product is.

Polyurethane is what we call the rock and roll of plastics.  It has soul and it has attitude. 

"April 12, 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock". Although only a minor hit when first released, when used in the opening sequence of the movie Blackboard Jungle, a year later, it really set the rock and roll boom in motion. The song became one of the biggest hits in history, and frenzied teens flocked to see Haley and the Comets perform it, causing riots in some cities. "Rock Around the Clock" was a breakthrough for both the group and for all of rock and roll music. If everything that came before laid the groundwork, "Rock Around the Clock" introduced the music to a global audience."  Wikipedea.

Welcome to Water Right.

When you want a strong, long lasting garden use polyurethane.  When you want a garden hose that is flexible in all weather conditions and does not permanently use polyurethane. When you want high pressure performance combined with a sleek, lightweight and elegant garden hose use polyurethane.  When you want a non-toxic garden hose without the toxins such as BPA, Lead and Phthalates often found in vinyl garden hose you use polyurethane. 

When you want beautiful, rich colors...well, you know the answer.

What makes your hose Drinking Water Safe?

We only use 100% virgin polyurethane from BAYER Material Science.  The formulations we use meet both FDA and NSF standards for drinking water safe applications. We don't use regrind or recycled resins that can often be contaminated and/or have compromised mechanical properties.

The polyurethane we use is 100% virgin and does not contain harmful lead, BPA or phthalates (plasticizers). 

(To learn more about toxins in garden hose click here).

Why is your Slim & Light Polyurethane Garden Hose tacky when first purchased?

When our hoses come fresh off of the production line they are naturally tacky.  The softer grades of polyurethane we use in order to provide a softer, more flexible hose are initially tackier than harder polyurethanes and, after a minimal amount of use, the tackiness disappears.  

The best way to eliminate the factory-fresh tackiness is to simply start using the hose and dragging it over the ground, through the garden and especially over hard surfaces.  It will quickly begin to lose the tackiness the more you use it.  The more you work with it, the more quickly the hose becomes smooth and slippery.

We like to drive over ours to break it in almost instantly. Not the fittings of course. :) Guess you could say we have a little bit of garden hose mania.  Ever heard of a garden hose manufacturer that actually recommends driving over their garden hose to break it in?

We didn't think so.  The more you use ours - the better it gets. 

How do I best wind up the Slim & Light Garden Hose?

The trick to winding up our hose is to pull the hose out straight until it is fully extended. Then, once back at the faucet or hose hanger, begin to loop the hose in the direction it wants to coil back up in. Continue to twist the hose about a half a turn to the right while winding the hose in a clock-wise direction and loop the hose again.  As you will quickly see, the hose wants to coil up in the same way it came to you from our factory, loop after loop after loop.. A video on this will be included here in January, 2013 and will show you what we mean.

Why do some coil hoses not last, rebound well or tangle easily?

It starts with using the right materials such as polyether-based polyurethane, and not polyester-based polyurethane. Polyether-based polyurethanes are the only ones designed for water applications. Polyester-based polyurethanes, on the other hand, are not. Polyester-based polyurethanes are attacked quickly by water which leads to tubing hydrolysis.  Hydrolysis is what actually begins to break down polyester resins creating a coil hose tube that gets brittle and cracks. You also have to use enough material in your coil hose in to make a better product. We use over 4 pounds of polyurethane per 75 ft coil hose vs 2-3 pounds often found in others. This gives your coil hose what we call "coil hose integrity." It is much less prone to tangle, it rebounds very well, the coil maintains it's shape and does not "grow" in diameter and become loose and sloppy after you stretch it. We also put our coil hose through two additional steps in the manufacturing process. We "cure" our coils creating better "thermoset" properties which provide much better coil memory. We also "reverse" our coil hose in the manufacturing process to create the ultimate in rebounding performance.

How long will your polyurethane hoses last?

We have hoses that are over 10 years old and are still in use today. Our hoses can be left out year-round in any type of weather and keep getting better year after year. Again, the more you use polyurethane, the better it gets. 

Can I use your hose with hot water?

Sure you can. Our polyurethane hoses can be used in fairly high temperature ranges for water applications.  Because of the mechanical properties mentioned above, our hoses can be used with water temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (symbol °F) with a maximum working pressure of 50 psi. This includes a safety factor of 3:1 which means that the hose or tubing could potentially rupture if the pressure range was three times our 50 PSI recommendation or 150 PSI.  Our motto: Be safe. Be smart. 

What is the warranty on your polyurethane garden hose?  

Our legal folks tell us 5 years and that is what we print. But because we own the company (insert smiley face here), if you ever have an issue with any of our hoses just call us.  Or email us.  We seriously doubt you ever will but if you do we will take care of you. We stand behind our products 100% and support our customers even further.  

And just in case you accidentally drive over your Water Right garden hose with your new 50 HP John Deere riding worries. We have very nice, easy to install repair fittings to get you back to business quickly. 


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