Monday, August 31, 2009

Consumer Reports Turns Tattletale

(Originially posted on NRO-The Corner by my husband)
The venerable Consumer Reports reviewed shower heads in its latest issue. Now what would you expect they'd do if they found one that provides an excellent shower, with a really forceful spray? Recommend it to its readers? No, it reported it all right, but to the EPA. CEI's Sam Kazman takes up the story:

Consumer Reports states that the British-made Hudson Reed Theme Thermostatic Shower Panel had a forceful spray that “seemed too good to be true—or legal.” Environmental Protection Agency regulations limit shower head water flow to no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Consumer Reports acknowledges that many shower fixtures get around this rule by using several shower heads, but the magazine decided to report the new single-head fixture to authorities, anyway. (In its words, "We've contacted EPA....")

“Consumer Reports has it backwards,” stated CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “Its duty is to consumers, not bureaucrats. It should not be acting as a nosy bathroom cop, trying to toss good products in the slammer just because they violate some intrusive federal regulation. More basically, people ought to be able to use whatever shower fixtures they want, just like they can decide how long a shower to take. This is a really victimless crime.”

EPA, meanwhile, is planning to reduce shower head flow even more in the near future. Mr. Kazman stated that Consumers Union, the magazine’s publisher, “will probably support this, because it, like the federal government, doesn’t care if consumers get soaked.”

It looks like shower heads are going the way of the light bulb, at least if the EPA gets its way (and let's face it, it normally does). If it can rely on Consumer Reports to sniff out offending products for it, where will it all end?

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