The Tyranny of Low-Flow Showerheads & CFL Bulbs

Let me begin by saying that I like our planet. It’s a beautiful place, and I wouldn’t want to live on any other planet. Yes, I think God blessed us quite generously with this snazzy orb of ours, and I think we should take care of it. I don’t think we should dump harmful chemicals in our water, I think we should work towards finding a better source of fuel for our cars, and I think recycling is a good idea. However, there are many environmental regulations that I think are just plain stupid, and quite possibly harmful.

Take, for example, the low-flow shower head. In 1992, the federal government passed a law stating that shower heads could not use more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Really? Our government doesn’t have anything better to do with their time and our money? What about things like terrorism, border insecurity, human trafficking, drug smuggling, etc? Anyway, until this law was passed, most shower heads used about 5 gallons per minute – a much more comfortable and clean amount, if you ask me. While the law was largely unenforced at first, the EPA has been cracking down on manufacturers that dare to rebel by continuing to create shower heads people actually want to buy. These new puny water-dribblers are basically worthless. My apartment building installed low-flow shower heads in all the units because they pay the water bills for all of their tenants. The one in my unit is stamped with “1.5 GPM MAX,” which means it puts forth a MAXIMUM of 1.5 gallons of water per minute. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rinse the shampoo out of 20 inches of hair with a showerhead that’s basically spitting on me? To make matters worse, my hair is blond, so if I don’t get all the soap out, it’s pretty obvious, as my hair looks super greasy and unwashed. Highly attractive, and definitely the look you want for going to work or to job interviews. The shower head at my parents’ house, however, is like standing under a waterfall. It’s wonderful! My hair looks so clean and shiny after I use it, and I can take a shower that’s half the length of the ones I have to take at my own apartment. It makes no sense to me to install these low-flow shower heads that require you to spend 20 minutes trying to rinse the soap off, when I could just take a 10 minute shower with a regular shower head. Does it really save that much water? I think not. In addition, I would be willing to bet that the White House and the homes of our dear members of Congress do not have low-flow shower heads. If you pay $400 for a haircut, you at least want it to look clean, right?

Another “environmentally friendly” development that I don’t understand is the advent of the CFL (compact florescent) light bulb (the spiral ones). The goal here is to phase out the use of regular (incandescent) light bulbs, which have been deemed “inefficient” by the government, and replace them with more efficient ones by 2014. The problem is that CFLs are dangerous. They contain mercury, which means they require a special process to dispose of them. You can’t just chuck the burned-out bulbs in the trash, like you could with the old ones. At least, you’re not supposed to. But in all seriousness, how many people are actually going to take their used light bulbs to a special recycling center? With the possible exception of the people of San Fransisco, probably not many. Most are going to pitch them into the garbage and be on their merry way. And 50 years from now when we have mercury leaking into our tap water from all the CFL bulbs in our landfills, the EPA will start screaming about how we’re all going to die because of these stupid light bulbs. According to this article, mercury is extremely dangerous to children and unborn babies, and, one can assume (though it doesn’t say), pets as well. The article goes on to say that mercury was banned in the use of thermometers. So we can’t use it in thermometers, but it’s ok to put it in light bulbs?

A regular, burned-out CFL requires special disposal, but God help you if you break one of these suckers. If your mercury-laden CFL bulb breaks, you have to EVACUATE. Yes, as in leave the room. You must turn off your central heating/air conditioning unit so that it doesn’t suck up the mercury vapor/particles, open the doors and windows, gather up your children and pets, and go outside for at least 15 minutes. After your room is sufficiently aired-out, you must scoop up the broken glass with cardboard and gloves (don’t touch it! It’s got mercury on it!), then put it in a glass jar with a metal lid. Don’t use a paper or plastic bag – that won’t contain the mercury fumes. *palmface* For real? Are we expecting pregnant women to clean up mercury spills and put their unborn children at risk, just to save a couple of dollars on her light bill? And not only are these bulbs full of mercury, they can also short out and cause fires, as almost happened to this person. Yes, I can clearly see how these bulbs are superior to the old non-toxic, won’t-catch-your-house-on-fire bulbs. *sigh*

As I said before, I’m not opposed to measures to protect the environment. If our planet is healthier, we’ll probably be healthier, too. But I resent these nitpicking, nanny-state measures imposed on individuals by the government in an effort to control us or coerce us into a certain behavior. There is a very clear list of powers that Congress has been granted and they are outlined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. Nowhere in that list is there any mention of shower heads or light bulbs.


4 Responses to “The Tyranny of Low-Flow Showerheads & CFL Bulbs”

  1. careknet Says:

    Great post! It is sad that our government tries to give off the illusion that they are looking out for us (as if we cannot think for ourselves) and the earth (as they buy 15,000 square foot homes to heat and cool for a family of four) by dictating to us what we can use to light our homes, put in our showers and go to the bathroom on. While the real reason’s remain tucked inside lobbyists and business deals; all to keep themselves elected and making more money at our expense. It is very frustrating and at this rate we should only expect it to get worse. Oh and I so agree with you about the actual savings on water that you get using less pressure! It does require longer showers and more flushing of the toilet.

  2. miscellaneoussheepery Says:

    So glad I’m not the only one that thinks that way! It’s so frustrating to me that the government insists on telling me what to do on mundane matters like this. I’m almost 25 years old, I went to college, I work, I pay my bills, I can drive a car. Why am I too dumb to make these decisions for myself? UGH!

  3. Consaka Says:

    I’m with you guys here except for the CFL’s. They contain so little mercury it will only matter in the landfills. The big annoyance with CFL’s is the big lie that they will last x number of years. The good news is that CFL’s are going out and LED’s are coming in. They use even less electricity and so far I haven’t heard anything toxic about them.
    While I have short hair that isnt bothered by low flow showerheads, I do resent being told what I can use for a shower head. My biggest pet peeve is low flow toilets you have to flush 6 times to get them to do their job. Is that saving water? lol

  4. JBM Says:

    Just got my notice from my apartment management that next week they will be in to replace all toilets, shower heads and to place aerators on all faucets. Here is the kicker line and I love this crap from the phony environmentalists running the apartments “This process will conserve water and save gas on heating hot water. We are doing our part to make, name of apartment complexes, green buildings” Now we pay the complex $25 a month each tenant for water and trash removal any savings aren’t passed on to us but them. Only inconvenience is passed on to us through crappy shower heads that don’t wash your body, toilets that take two flushes to do what one use to do, faucets that don’t wash dishes when there are no dishwashers in units. Whats next the hand waving units in the apartments? We’ll all be having to dance trying to get a shower. I’ve actually sat in a dark bathroom before because of the motion activated lights. Not only that most water companies are government owned which means when they start taking in less revenue they just raise the rates anyways thus there is no monetary savings. Thus were left with their only pitch saving the Earth, most studies into this have proven that its all junk science those real purpose is anti-capitalism and nothing to do with the environment. I don’t even want to start on light bulbs.

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